Sunday, September 22nd, 2019 Roundtable

The First Idolatry Was Faith in Matter

This week’s Lesson Sermon Subject: Matter

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Morning Prayers

Goodness never fails to receive its reward, for goodness makes life a blessing. As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good. Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing.

Miscellany by Mary Baker Eddy, page 165

Discussion points

384 — WATCH against discouragement, when a problem seems prolonged. When leaves are falling and you clean off your sidewalk, you do not become discouraged when a fresh crop falls. You continue to sweep them off until the tree is bare.

When you meet an error, you should regard it as finished. If it seems to present itself again in the same form, why not look upon it as a fresh problem, rather than an old one? The leaves look alike each morning, but they are not. Remember that part of the trick of error to lower your morale, is to cause you to feel that you have accomplished nothing, by presenting itself in the same guise day after day.

— from 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter

Golden Text — “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” — II Corinthians 6 : 16

Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love — the kingdom of heaven — reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.

— from Science and Health, 1910, by Mary Baker Eddy, page 248

How much are the thoughts about my body occupying my thinking everyday? Does my body not get enough time while I get ready for the day? Should I spend anymore time dwelling on every wrinkle, every pound I gain, every pimple, every ache or pain?

Idol. Webster 1828 4. Any thing on which we set our affections; that to which we indulge an excessive and sinful attachment. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:1. An idol is any thing which usurps the place of God in the hearts of his rational creatures.

I have learned we have more idols than one would believe; examples are our bodies, personalities, habitual thoughts that consume us, desired ambitions that occupy our thoughts, other’s faults that dominate us, false beliefs that we allow to discourage, belittle, frustrate, anger us or conduct our lives other than the love of God. And are any of these worth it? No!! Thus we should heed 1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

We have been given a away out of being idolaters: That is to get the correct view of your immortal self-hood, to see that you are an embodiment of right ideas, spiritual, made perfect in the image and likeness of God! Preoccupying thought with this would help us be present with the Lord and absent from the material sense of body.

— “Ooops, Did I Make My Body An Idol?” by Florence Roberts

Exercise spiritual dominion in all that you do.

— from Roundtable

The test of any activity is, “Does this bring you closer to God?”

— from Roundtable

Article — God Proportions Man by Peter V. Ross

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

— from 2 Corithians 5 : 8 King James Bible

“Matter, which takes divine power into its own hands and claims to be a creator, is a fiction, in which paganism and lust are so sanctioned by society that mankind has caught their moral contagion.” Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, page 170 : 32-3

Webster defines “lust” as carnal (fleshly) appetite or desire; depraved affections and desires. Am I “lusting” for food, fashion, physique, or a glamorous enhancement of my body or home? These are all “sanctioned by society” and so easy to get caught up in, unless I constantly strive to “see that you are an embodiment of right ideas, spiritual, made perfect in the image and likeness of God!” Such a helpful Lesson-Sermon to remind me what’s really important.

Forum post — by Joanne from FL

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?””

— Romans 6 : 16 from citation 4 in the Bible portion of this week’s Lesson

When we endow matter with vague spiritual power, — that is, when we do so in our theories, for of course we cannot really endow matter with what it does not and cannot possess, — we disown the Almighty,

— Citation 4 in this week’s Lesson from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 119

Forum post — “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” by Jeremy from NJ

The first idolatry was faith in matter.

— Citation 3 in this week’s Lesson from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 146 : 5-6

Is it possible to know why we are put into this condition of mortality?

It is quite as possible to know wherefore man is thus conditioned, as to be certain that he is in a state of mortality. The only evidence of the existence of a mortal man, or of a material state and universe, is gathered 65 from the five personal senses. This delusive evidence, Science has dethroned by repeated proofs of its falsity.

We have no more proof of human discord,—sin, sickness, disease, or death,—than we have that the earth’s surface is flat, and her motions imaginary. If man’s ipse dixit as to the stellar system is correct, this is because Science is true, and the evidence of the senses is false. Then why not submit to the affirmations of Science concerning the greater subject of human weal and woe? Every question between Truth and error, Science must and will decide. Left to the decision of Science, your query concerns a negative which the positive Truth destroys; for God’s universe and man are immortal. We must not consider the false side of existence in order to gain the true solution of Life and its great realities.

— from Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, page 64

If God does not recognize matter, how did Jesus, who was “the way, the truth, and the life,” cognize it?

Christ Jesus’ sense of matter was the opposite of that which mortals entertain: his nativity was a spiritual and immortal sense of the ideal world. His earthly mission was to translate substance into its original meaning, Mind. He walked upon the waves; he turned the water into wine; he healed the sick and the sinner; he raised the dead, and rolled away the stone from the door of his own tomb. His demonstration of Spirit virtually vanquished matter and its supposed laws. Walking the wave, he proved the fallacy of the theory that matter is substance; healing through Mind, he removed any supposition that matter is intelligent, or can recognize or express pain and pleasure. His triumph over the grave was an everlasting victory for Life; it demonstrated the lifelessness of matter, and the power and permanence of Spirit. He met and conquered the resistance of the world.

If you will admit, with me, that matter is neither substance, intelligence, nor Life, you may have all that is left of it; and you will have touched the hem of the garment of Jesus’ idea of matter. Christ was “the way;” since Life and Truth were the way that gave us, through a human person, a spiritual revelation of man’s possible earthly development.

— from Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, page 74-75

Question. — What is the scientific statement of being? Answer. — There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.

From the chapter “Recapitulation” in Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures,
 by Mary Baker Eddy, page 468

Final Readings

Is it correct to say of material objects, that they are nothing and exist only in imagination?

Nothing and something are words which need correct definition. They either mean formations of indefinite and vague human opinions, or scientific classifications of the unreal and the real. My sense of the beauty of the universe is, that beauty typifies holiness, and is something to be desired. Earth is more spiritually beautiful to my gaze now than when it was more earthly to the eyes of Eve. The pleasant sensations of human belief, of form and color, must be spiritualized, until we gain the glorified sense of substance as in the new heaven and earth, the harmony of body and Mind.

Even the human conception of beauty, grandeur, and utility is something that defies a sneer. It is more than imagination. It is next to divine beauty and the grandeur of Spirit. It lives with our earth-life, and is the subjective state of high thoughts. The atmosphere of mortal mind constitutes our mortal environment. What mortals hear, see, feel, taste, smell, constitutes their present earth and heaven: but we must grow out of even this pleasing thraldom, and find wings to reach the glory of supersensible Life; then we shall 87 soar above, as the bird in the clear ether of the blue temporal sky.

To take all earth’s beauty into one gulp of vacuity and label beauty nothing, is ignorantly to caricature God’s creation, which is unjust to human sense and to the divine realism. In our immature sense of spiritual things, let us say of the beauties of the sensuous universe: “I love your promise; and shall know, some time, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and color, of what I now through you discern dimly; and knowing this, I shall be satisfied. Matter is a frail conception of mortal mind; and mortal mind is a poorer representative of the beauty, grandeur, and glory of the immortal Mind.”

— from Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, page 86-87

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