September 7, 2016

bible study imageSubject: Substance

Substance is multifaceted. Substance can be our material possessions, the ingredients in cookies, the stuff of the earth, or the gist of a story line. For example, in the 2001 film, “Greenfingers,” the story line concentrated on the substance of forgiveness and self-respect.

The main characters are inmates, serving time for bad deeds done in the past. After serving many years and showing good behavior, they were moved to participate in an “open prison” program.

Key figure, Colin Briggs, played by Clive Owen, enters the open prison system and is delegated to the room with an older inmate who urges Briggs to forgive himself. The older inmate, Ferus Wilks, played by David Kelly, later gives Briggs a package of seeds as a Christmas gift. Briggs half-heartedly opens the package and throws the seeds in the cold ground.

Unknown to the men, the seeds grew and produced beautiful double violet flowers.

But the flowers needed nurturing and this is where the essence of Brigg’s soul began to heal. His interest in gardening increased as the plants and flowers increased. It was as if the gardening added to a substantial sense of rehabilitation.

The Warden puts Briggs and a few other inmates in charge of gardening on the grounds. Briggs becomes passionate about the project, digging into the ground, reading horticulture books and starting a mini greenhouse.

Directed by Joel Hershman, written by Mr. Hershman, and loosely based on a1998 article in The New York Times, ”Free to Grow Bluebells in England” by Paula Deitz, “Greenfingers,” eventually told why Briggs had become numb to the world. He didn’t know how to deal with his past, when in a drunken jealous rage, he killed his brother.

Briggs didn’t excuse his mistake. He knew drunkenness was stupid. He knew hating his brother for stealing his girlfriend didn’t last. And, he believed he was destined to live miserably. He was self-absorbed in emotionless habits until he no longer could be because the substance of life keeps planting seeds of care in our hearts.

The men eventually entered a garden contest and went on to feel the wealth, or substance, of self-respect for a job well done. They didn’t win the prize, but showed that the substance of hard-work and beauty surpass human approval or awards.

In the Bible, we read about Job, who lost all his substance when tempted to believe in another power other than God. In your Bible, read Job, chapters 1 and 2:1-10 from your Bible of choice.

Job then entered a mental battle, but entertained the thoughts of 3 friends, who ultimately didn’t add substance to his triumph. It was when Job stood with God, alone, that true substance was realized and felt. The essence of love and truth. The ingredients of respect and honesty. Job was healed and went on to experience a greater sense of substance, grounded in Spirit.

Read Job 42 from your Bible.

From 21st Century Science and Health*

Human mind and divine Mind are opposites. One is contrary to the other in its very nature and essence, consequently, they both can’t be real. Only by understanding that there is but one power—not two powers—are scientific and logical conclusions reached. We must continue to admit that spiritual intelligence is apart from mortal beings and measurable energy. Spiritual intelligence is expressing and controlling the universe. Spiritual intelligence is synonymous with the eternal Mind or divine Principle, Love.

We can, and ultimately will, so improve and make use in every direction the supremacy of Truth over error, Life over death, and good over evil. This spiritualization will go on until we arrive at the fullness of God’s idea, and have no more fear that we shall be sick and die. Inharmony of any kind involves weakness and suffering—a loss of control over the body.

The depraved appetite for alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, methamphetamines, promiscuity, pornography, is destroyed only by Mind’s control of the body. There is no enjoyment in getting drunk, in becoming a fool, or being an object of extreme disgust. There is actually a very sharp remembrance of idiocy, a suffering inconceivably terrible to one’s self-respect. Morbid cravings are loathsome. Normal control is gained through divine strength and understanding.

Humanity’s dependence on the relentless passions, selfishness, envy, hatred, and revenge—is beaten only by a mighty struggle. Every hour of delay makes the struggle more severe. If someone can’t stop the negative human elements from taking over their thought—happiness, health, and courage will be crushed. Here divine Science is the universal remedy, giving strength to the weakness of human mind. Spiritual and omnipotent Mind not only gives energy, but also lifts humanity above itself into purer desires, even into spiritual power and good-will to humankind.

Let the dupe of self-destructive desires learn the lessons of Christian Science. They then can get the better of those desires, and ascend a degree in the scale of health, happiness, and existence.

Sin needs to be abandoned before forgiven.

Being destroyed, sin needs no other form of pardon or forgiveness. Doesn’t God’s forgiveness, eliminating any one negative thought and action, prophesy and involve the final destruction of all negative thought and action?

I would not transform the infant immediately into an adult, nor would I keep the infant a lifelong newborn. No impossible thing do I ask when urging the claims of Christian Science; but because this teaching is in advance of the times, we should not deny our need of its spiritual unfoldment. Humanity will improve through Science and spirituality. The necessity for spiritualizing humanity comes from the fact that Mind can do it. Mind, God, can impart purity instead of impurity, strength instead of weakness, and health instead of disease. Truth improves the entire system, and can heal “the whole body.”[1]

Mind is not the author of delusive soulless substance.

With its doomed fate, human mind is basically insubstantial, mortal.

The system of divine Science is purely mental. We must embrace spiritual Mind with its power to cure. God, Love, Mind, is the healing factor. Christian Science rests on the conception of God as the only Life, substance, intelligence, and the only factor in the healing work.

 

* Text from 21st Century Science and Health, 5th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] John 7:23 (REB)

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