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PSST: When you are aware of God’s control, all things work together for good! (6)
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

 

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced” for Sunday May 30, 2021

By Tom and Amy Evans, former staff members and big fans of CedarS

 

The lesson touches on thought frequently.  Did you notice that? It specifically mentions thought 18 times. What are we doing with thought, what are we holding in thought, and that thought is impactful and powerful? Consider how Mary Baker Eddy writes about thought in general, and not necessarily about our thoughts, particularly in citation S3/228:25-27 in Section 1. Look at the way thought is described as a tool or even a weapon in the Golden Text (Romans 8:31) and citation B10/Ps. 64:2,3 for example.

PSST (Possible Sunday School Topics) for Golden Text & Responsive Reading

Consider the rhetorical question Paul asks in Romans in the Golden Text/Rom. 8:31. Who can be against you when God is for you? (hint: no one). Why is this significant? Remember that the Golden Text points out a major theme in the lesson.

How does this concept relate to hypnotism?

Paul attaches spiritual qualities to familiar 1st Century armor pieces in his letter to the Ephesians. Create a meaningful list of tools you rely on and expand your thought of them by attaching spiritual qualities to each item.

Try something like “soccer cleats of righteousness, hockey stick of Truth, softball glove of integrity…”.

What protection/equipment do you use in your sport or hobby? Consider the “fiery darts of the wicked”.
How do you see that in your experience?
What is your “whole armor”?

 

P.S.S.T. for Section 1 – God is all-power

What does it mean when we will “not see evil any more” (cit. B2/Zeph. 3:15)?
The same concept that there is no power but of God is echoed in citations B5/Rom. 13:1 and S1/228:25.
Why is it so important in this lesson in particular to be clear in our understanding of where power comes from?

  • What if there was another power?
  • Why does knowing there is one power (God) help with healing?
  • Why do we need to have clarity and confidence in knowing that God is the only power?

Consider the last sentence of citation S5 (103:22-23 to 1st.).
How do we ensure that Truth is not surprising and error doesn’t seem to be real?

Look through Section 1 for the different ways that Mary Baker Eddy defines evil or shows that it is nothing.
What are the different adjectives she uses to describe it? (“suppositional”…)

P.S.S.T. for Section 2 – No more adversary

Section 1 described evil as nothing. The author of I Peter (an early Christian) is describing evil, the adversary, as a “roaring lion”.
How do we silence this lion (cit. B6/I Peter 5:8)?
What is the carnal mind (cits. B7/Rom. 8:6,7 and B8/II Cor. 10:4, 5)?
Why do we need to be alert to it?
What does it mean to pull down a stronghold (tearing down a stone wall)?
What are some examples of you doing this?
What does Mary Baker Eddy say about the adversary (cit. S6/580:28-31)?

Citation S10/234:31-3 reminds us that evil beliefs do not do more harm that our belief permits. What is the necessary defense?
How do we “have that Mind which was also in Christ” (cit. S12/467:13)?
Describe what that state of thought is like.

P.S.S.T. for Section 3 – Tangible Blessings

What is happening in citation B11/Numbers 22:2, 5, 6 and cit. B12/Numbers 23: 5, 8, 11, 12, 20? Balak sees blessing and cursing as a tangible commodity or good.
It was interesting to see the way Balak gets upset when the “wrong” commodity is delivered—a blessing instead of a curse (Numbers 23: 11). It’s almost like he was saying “I told you to rob them, instead you gave them a gift!”

Are you conscious of blessings around you?  What was wrong with Balak’s attempt to buy a cursing from Balaam? How can we understand and be more aware of our thought?

What is animal magnetism and mesmerism? Isn’t it the same thing as this cursing?
How were the children of Israel protected?
Did they need to do anything to avoid the cursing?
Does a curse have any real power?

How can we apply this to our experience? What does Mary Baker Eddy say about mental malpractice (cit. S15/451:26)? How does she tell us there to protect ourselves from it?
What does it mean on a mental level to be “clad in the panoply of Love” (cit. S17/571:18)?

How are we protected from lies, influences, advertisements, and other temptations?
Look back at the Responsive Reading/Eph. 6:1 where Paul ties spiritual qualities to each of the elements of 1st century armor. If you made a list of equipment and tied spiritual qualities to each item, this would be a great time to apply your list.

P.S.S.T. for Section 4 – Healing

Discuss with your class the healing in citation B14 (Matt 17:14-18). What happened? Why did Jesus say, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?” How immediate was the healing? How did Jesus heal the boy? (Look at citation S19/147:32-4 and cit. S20/185:22, 32 for this explanation.)

Citation S20 (185:22, 32) shares how to heal a patient who is under the influence of hypnotism or not thinking clearly. This citation describes the need to empty thought of “false stimulus and reaction of willpower”.

  • What is false stimulus?
  • Give an example from your life of a mental distraction or temptation to react
  • What is will power?
  • Give an example of pushing for your own agenda / being stubborn / pushing for what you want instead of listening for divine guidance

o   Can will power be a desire for good things (yes)

o   Why is it still bad? (pushing instead of yielding to God)

Citation S23/462:1 is a hopeful message about demonstrating Christian Science

  • Who can be a successful student?
  • What does it take?

P.S.S.T. for Section 5 – Quality of thought

What is the author of Jude’s advice to prevent falling into sinful temptations (cit. B17/Jude 1:3, 4, 16, 19-21)? (“keep yourselves in the love of God”)

Why and how is love so important / potent / effective? Citations S27/235:7-10, 13, 32 and cit. S28/454:17-22 continue on this same line of thought with the importance of Love. The teacher with a high moral thought uplifts students. When educating others, the quality of thought matters as much or more than what you are teaching.

  • For older students heading off to summer camp as counselors or anyone leading classes, how are you keeping thought elevated?
  • Have you considered the importance of beginning with God before you teach or lead an activity or subject?

 

P.S.S.T. for Section 6 – All things work together for good

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, citation B19/Rom. 8:38-39, why do all things work together for good for those who love God? (because these individuals (YOU) are aware of God’s control)

Rewrite Romans 8:38-39 in your context. Something like “For I am persuaded that neither Fortnite nor Disney Plus, nor Netflix, nor YouTube, nor college applications…nor any other creature shall be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

Citation S29/304:9-14 speaks to the doctrine (core belief) of Christian Science, that good cannot result in evil, or life result in death. How have you witnessed this in your experience?

The final words from Science and Health in the lesson, citation S32, much like the first section of the lesson, address God as the only source of power.
How are you grappling with and overcoming a belief in a power opposed to God?

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