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PSST: Take up the Cross and Follow Jesus
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Sacrament”
for January 8–14, 2024

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


P.S.S.T. for Golden Text – Spiritual gifts

From Bible Lens Research:
“…the steward metaphor calls on believers to act as trustees, generously sharing their God-given gifts with one another. One example of a vital “gift” was hospitality (specified in v. 9). Because there were no church buildings, individual homes became meeting places for churches. Without them, group worship would not have been possible.”

What are some gifts that your students have that they can share with their peers, classmates, teammates?

We all have spiritual gifts and talents. The Bible includes at least 19 spiritual gifts or talents that your students may have (see Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 28-30, and Ephesians 4:11). Spiritual gifts are known as gifts given to each of us from the Holy Spirit to help glorify God.

I found this website which has an interesting description of 19 spiritual gifts.
For instance:

“The gift of administration: The Greek word for the spiritual gift of administration is kubernesis. The literal meaning is ‘to steer,’ or ‘to rule or govern.’  It carries the idea of someone who guides and directs a group of people toward a goal or destination. With this gift the Holy Spirit enables certain Christians to organize, direct, and implement plans to lead others in the various ministries of the Church.  This gift is closely related to the gift of leadership, but is more goal or task oriented and is also more concerned with details and organization.” (https://spiritualgiftstest.com/spiritual-gifts/)


P.S.S.T. for Responsive Reading – Cup and bread

If you are looking to explore more of the idea of “cup” this Sacrament Sunday, here are some additional resources:

+“Cup” is found in Science and Health 31 times. Explore Concord online for free to see what it says.

+Explore pages 32 and 33 of Science and Health together as a class for a greater understanding of “cup” in this week’s Lesson (pages 31-33 also describe “bread” indepthly).

+Think about how to take this idea of “cup” forward with this correlated passage: “The time for the reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time; and whosoever layeth his earthly all on the altar of divine Science, drinketh of Christ’s cup now, and is endued with the spirit and power of Christian healing.”
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 55:22)

+Bible Lens Research says:
“Paul is speaking of the Eucharist, the commemoration of Christ Jesus’ actions at the last supper (see Mark 14:22–25, citation 12). In a culture where dining together indicated unity, he reminds the Corinthian Christians of this special communion meal—a plea that they overcome conflict, dissension, and the pull of idolatry among themselves. Originally one of four cups of wine taken at Passover, the cup of blessing represented thanksgiving and fellowship (from a custom in which drinking wine together created a bond between participants). Paul adopts the shared cup as an image for Christly communion, not as a passive association with like-minded people but as active participation in mutual gratitude for oneness with God and His Christ.”

+This passage sums up the Eucharist clearly:
”Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread, “which cometh down from heaven,” is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commended to his followers.”
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 35:25)


P.S.S.T. for Section 1 – Light and Perfection

Explore Urim in the Glossary of Science and Health:

“URIM. Light.
The rabbins believed that the stones in the breast-plate of the high-priest had supernatural illumination, but Christian Science reveals Spirit, not matter, as the illuminator of all. The illuminations of Science give us a sense of the nothingness of error, and they show the spiritual inspiration of Love and Truth to be the only fit preparation for admission to the presence and power of the Most High.”
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 596:11–19)

Explore Thummim in the Glossary:

“THUMMIM. Perfection; the eternal demand of divine Science.”
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 595:11)

Bible Lens Research also adds:
“During the Exodus from Egypt, God provided comprehensive instructions for His people’s worship. Here the priesthood, previously a private activity that took many forms, is established as a formal institution and described in detail. Priestly garments and ornamentation were intended to convey honor, dignity, and devotion—qualities befitting tabernacle service. While the precise form of the Urim and Thummim is unknown, they were deemed central to this expression of reverence toward God. Aaron, Moses’ older brother, had been chosen by God as spokesman for Moses, who was “slow of speech.”… Aaron served as high priest for the rest of his life….”

This could be a great point to discuss the difference between material symbols and spiritual symbols. Was it really the stones that gave power, or was it the idea of light and spiritual perfection that gave power? How does recognizing that the power comes from Spirit rather than from matter enable us to live without limits? Consider how light and perfection might be great things to “clothe” yourselves with on a daily basis.


P.S.S.T. for Section 2 – The brothers question

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (cit. B8 / Matthew 16:24)

What does it mean to “deny yourself”? Why is this a good thing to do?
How does denying a material selfhood help us live the worthiness and goodness of our spiritual selfhood? Our spiritual selfhood is the best transparency of light there can be. So, denying a material, personal sense of self can only help clear off the glass to allow our spiritual selfhood to shine through more clearly. What are some ways that denying our material selfhood might make us uncomfortable?

What are James and John asking in this request? How does Jesus respond?
How does Jesus’ response show us his ultimate humility? “But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.” (Mark 10:40/cit. B10)

Even though the request of James and John is awkward, they are acknowledging the inevitable victory of Jesus Christ. They are acknowledging Jesus’ glory. So, in that way, they are showing their faith in Jesus and in the power he expressed.

How do the other disciples respond after they hear James and John’s request?
How would your students respond?

What does Jesus’ response to the other disciples tell us about leadership?
How did Jesus view his leadership? “but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” (Mark 10:43, 44/cit. B10)

Consider acting out this brief scene as a class. Take turns playing different roles.


P.S.S.T. for Section 3 — Lessons from Jesus

 This Sacrament lesson is read twice per year. And on Easter, in particular, we focus on Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

Why is it important to remember and contemplate the significance of these events?

What does this show us about a sacrifice of self for the greater good? What did Jesus’ resurrection and ascension show us?

What does it mean to depart from the material sense to the spiritual sense of being? What do we learn from spiritual sense? What is gained through spiritual sense?
How does spiritual sense triumph over the so-called material senses?

“Like our Master, we must depart from material sense into the spiritual sense of being.” (cit. S15, p. 41:6)


P.S.S.T. for Section 4 — Cast your net on the right side and find

 Consider the context for the events in this fishing story. Why are the disciples so gloomy? How is this affecting their fishing? Why are they casting their net on the “wrong” side?

What is the greater metaphor of casting our net on the “right side”? How about casting our net on what God is seeing and knowing? When we start with God, we gain God – we gain a spiritual impetus, energy, and movement.

“To begin rightly is to end rightly. Every concept which seems to begin with the brain [a limited sense of self] begins falsely.”

(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 262:28–30)

“For right reasoning there should be but one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence.”

(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 492:3–4)

Sometimes we feel like our talents are limited or lacking when we start with material sense. But when we start with God, the only Cause and Principle of existence, and who we are as the image and likeness of God, we will find a much greater harvest.

This can be one of the ways that we “deny self”, find our true selfhood as the unlimited image and likeness of God, and follow God!


 P.S.S.T. for Section 5 – Patient waiting

 Notice how many times “patience” is mentioned in this section. Perhaps you could discuss the role that patience plays in life, prayer, serving God, etc.

Consider how “waiting” on God can be active – like a waiter attending to someone at a restaurant. Sometimes we do need to wait for good things. But it doesn’t need to be just standing around. It can be an active waiting – a reflection of God.


P.S.S.T. for Section 6 – Use your gifts to serve Church

This section talks about using our gifts to serve church. What are some ways your students’ gifts and talents can be used to serve church?

Have you had a discussion with your students about what happens when they graduate Sunday School? Enjoy an article on how some students have transitioned from Sunday School to church.

A NEW ADVENTURE: SUNDAY SCHOOL AND BEYOND


Enjoy your class!

 

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