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PSST: EXPLORE HOW TO FOLLOW CHRIST JESUS

Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Sacrament”

for January 9, 2021

by Lindsey Biggs, C.S of Maryland Heights, MO
540 460 3515 biggs.lindsey@gmail.com


P.S.S.T. for Golden Text – WHAT BLESSINGS HAVE YOU INHERITED FROM GOD?

What is an inheritance? What is the divine and spiritual inheritance that God has given us? To be God’s sons and daughters; to know the Kingdom of heaven within; and to live the freedom, harmony, dominion, and joy that are indicative of God’s kingdom.


P.S.S.T. for Responsive Reading – SUBMIT TO LOVE’S COMPLETE ERROR-ERADICATING BAPTISM!

Psalms 51:1
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.”

“Māhâ, the term translated blot out, signifies utter eradication. This divine action is not superficial but deep and thorough (indicated by the words wash, cleanse, and purge), destroying every sinful thought and act.” (“Bible Lens Research”, Christian Science Sentinel)

Isn’t it wonderful to realize that every “sin” – every belief of separation from God – must be thoroughly washed out and destroyed. This is a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven. Then complete harmony will reign. In fact this is what God already knows and sees since God is all light.

Consider taking a look at the parable of the tares and the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30) and how every tare must be exterminated. Explore its relevance to the human consciousness and the beliefs that we commonly accept. Show how every tare has to be torn out so that there is only wheat left. Is there anything we can do to aid in the expunging of all tares? How about a complete willingness to let go of anything that isn’t like God and trusting that God will bind these tares and destroy them at the right time in the right way? “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:30 NKJV)


P.S.S.T. for Section 1 — THE SHEPHERD CARES FOR HIS FLOCK. 

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

“A scriptural authority explains that shepherd’s care for their sheep in four basic ways: freeing them from fear, keeping harmony in the flock, ridding them of pests, and ensuring that they are fed.” (“Bible Lens Research”, Christian Science Sentinel

I love this description of the 4 basic ways that shepherd’s care for their sheep. It is such a loving metaphor. If you haven’t read the Song of the Syrian Guest yet, it is a great description of the care of the shepherd. It awakens us to the wonderful ways that God is tenderly caring for each of us. 


The Radical Acts card game (which you may be able to obtain through your local Christian Science Reading Room) has great discussion starter questions for classes. It includes questions that prompt students to think about how they are following Jesus such as “tell a story about a time that love you freely shared boomeranged around and brought you what you needed” and “when was the last time you really let your light shine and what was the result?”
I think we can all agree that following Jesus isn’t always the easiest thing to do; discussions like these help us be inspired by the examples of others and give us new and inspiring ideas on how we can do so, too. 

“In Latin the word rendered disciple signifies student; and the word indicates that the power of healing was not a supernatural gift to those learners, but the result of their cultivated spiritual understanding…” (citation S2/p. 271) Cultivating spiritual understanding is an important thing…what are some ways and resources that we have that help us cultivate our spiritual understanding?


P.S.S.T. for Section 2 – WHO SHALL BE GREATEST?


What do your students think of the question that was asked of Jesus – that James and John be the ones to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus in the kingdom of heaven? (cit. B4/Matthew 20)

“Zebedee’s sons are James and John. In the Gospel of Mark, they make this request themselves (see 10:35–40); here, it comes from their mother, one of the women later present at the crucifixion and at Jesus’ tomb (see Mark 15:40; 16:1)…But Jesus had recently condemned a disagreement about who would be greatest among the apostles, giving them the example of a young child (see Matthew 18:1–6).” (“Bible Lens Research”, Christian Science Sentinel)

Jesus follows up his response to them with this statement, “… whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;” (cit. B4/Matt 20:26) What do these responses about being childlike and being a minister show us about the spiritual qualities needed to experience the kingdom of heaven?


P.S.S.T. for Section 3 – BREAD, WINE, AND GRACE!


What does “sacrament” mean to your students? Perhaps some of your students have visited other Christian churches where bread and wine are distributed. 

Here are some definitions of sacrament:

“religious sign or symbol, especially associated with Christian churches, in which a sacred or spiritual power is believed to be transmitted through material elements viewed as channels of divine grace…St. Augustine defined sacrament as ‘the visible form of an invisible grace” or “a sign of a sacred thing.’” (Britannica.com)

“a visible sign of an inward grace, especially one of the solemn Christian rites considered to have been instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize or confer grace; the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, especially the bread; a sign, token, or symbol; an oath; solemn pledge.” (Dictionary.com) 

Since each of these definitions contain “grace” as an important element, this explanation of grace from Mary Baker Eddy adds a neat element: “All this is accomplished by the grace of God, — the effect of God understood.” (Christian Science versus Pantheism, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 10)

Mary Baker Eddy shows a spiritual definition of baptism, bread, and wine. 


In this passage she defines bread as “…the great truth of spiritual being, healing the sick and casting out error.” (cit. S10/p. 33) She explains that this “great truth of spiritual being” was something that the disciples had been imparting to others and now this same great truth was healing and comforting them. “Their Master had explained it all before, and now this bread was feeding and sustaining them. They had borne this bread from house to house, breaking (explaining) it to others, and now it comforted themselves.” (Ibid)

 


P.S.S.T. for Section 4 – WATCH AND BE ATTENTIVE


“What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:” (cit. B7/Matthew 26:40-41)

Here are some definitions of “watch” from the 1828 dictionary:

“To be awake; to be or continue without sleep; To be attentive; to look with attention or steadiness; To look with expectation; To keep guard; to act as sentinel;” 

What was Jesus hoping his disciples would do with him? How can we practice watchfulness throughout our day? How can we pray to know that we are “not entering into temptation”? Is this something that we want to do for just “one hour” or is it a spirit that we want to manifest all day? How does being attentive to God and what God is seeing and knowing help us? 

Come we daily then, dear Father, / Open hearts and willing hands, / Eager ears, expectant, joyful, / Ready for Thy right commands. / We would hear no other voices, / We would heed no other call; / Thou alone art good and gracious, / Thou our Mind and Thou our All.

(Christian Science Hymnal, No.  58:2)



P.S.S.T. for Section 5 – JESUS’ RESURRECTION WAS ALSO THE DISCIPLES’ RESURRECTION


Mary Baker Eddy is clear that the crucifixion that Jesus went through was for our (humanity’s) benefit – that it was a practical demonstration of Life and Love. Jesus’ disciples, as well as us, needed that practical proof of the everlasting nature of Life and the omnipotence of Truth and Love. 

She writes:
“Jesus’ students, not sufficiently advanced fully to understand their Master’s triumph, did not perform many wonderful works, until they saw him after his crucifixion and learned that he had not died. This convinced them of the truthfulness of all that he had taught.” (cit. S19/p. 45)
Similarly we may have had many wonderful “proofs” of the allness of God, Spirit, that strengthen our conviction and faith. The Sentinels and Journals are full of many of them.

“He who has the true idea of good loses all sense of evil…” (cit. S20/p. 352) These disciples glimpsed the allness of good and therefore their faith in and belief in evil was lessened and they were enabled to continue Jesus ministry through all that he had shown them. “Jesus gave the true idea of being, which results in infinite blessings to mortals.” (Ibid)



P.S.S.T. for Section 6 – CAST YOUR NET ON THE RIGHT SIDE AND FIND JOY! 


Jesus’ disciples had returned to fishing. They thought their new life with Jesus was over and they were going to return to their old ways, until they saw Jesus on the shore. This must have been such a joyful occasion to rejoice in seeing their Master again and having encouragement and strengthened faith in all that he accomplished. The Bible depicts Peter as diving into the water to swim to shore before the others to see Jesus. He expresses eagerness and delight in seeing the resurrected Jesus.

“Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, ‘It is the Lord,’ he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.” (John 21:7-8 NIV

Jesus then gives Peter an opportunity to be fully restored to a faithful disciple by confirming 3 times that he loves Jesus and is willing to follow him. His 3 affirmations of loving Jesus are the counterfacts he needed after denying Jesus 3 times after he was crucified. “Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” (cit. B11/John 21:15) 


Peter and the disciples are now able to go forward with confidence and courage in all that the Christ is and does for mankind. They learned to emulate Jesus in all his ways – healing and preaching – and illustrating the way to others. We have the precious opportunity to humbly follow and do so, too. 


Enjoy your classes!

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