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PSST: Let’s reason together this week!!
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson – May 12, 2013

By: Heather K. Libbe, CS (heather.libbe@gmail.com)
PO Box 230964, Boston, MA 02123
419-343-7870 (cell)  http://heatherlibbecs.com

**I am currently out of the country, though I am still available via email and Facebook message and will get back to you as soon as I can

Subject – ADAM AND FALLEN MAN

I was recently in the Philippines and was delighted to hear that one of the biggest challenges they are facing in relation to church is having too many kids in their Sunday School.  What an amazing problem to have!!! J

The students who I met are such sincere seekers and devout students of Christian Science, truly grateful for their experience each Sunday and hungering for more.  Furthermore, I was blessed to meet with several of the Informal Groups who live in the mountains.  Some of these individuals have walked 4 hrs with their children to attend the nearest church services.

Why?  Because they are grateful.

Many have had incredible healings including one woman who, as a little girl, had to have her mother carry her two hours up and down steep dirt roads to get to church because she couldn’t walk.  During one Sunday, she was completely healed and was able to hike back to her community.

Is this what we are expecting to happen in our churches and Sunday schools?!?!

Below are some questions and additional resources that might help you prepare for your Sunday school class this week, as we come, “reason together” as a global family to learn more about the Scriptures and the healing power of the Christ.

Thank you for all that you are doing to so selflessly serve the Cause of Christian Science in your willingness to dive deep into “the absolute Christian Science contained in [our] textbook.” (Mother Church Manual; Article XX, Section 3)  

Have an inspired class!

Golden Text (Hebrews 3:14) 
“For we are all made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;”

What might it mean to be a partaker of Christ and how might it look to partake in Christ? According to Strong’s Concordance, the word “partake” comes from the Greek word “metochos,” which also means “sharing in” and “a partner.” Specifically in relation to Hebrews 3:14, it means “of his mind, and of the salvation procured by him.” So, how do we share in the mind and salvation of Christ? How can we be confident from beginning to end?

Responsive Reading (II Tim 2:1 my, 7, 15, 16, 19; 3:14, 16, 17)  
Pick a verse from the Responsive Reading and focus on how it might be applied to one’s own experience, especially in high school. For example, what might it look like to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” and how can we help others to do the same? Or, what are some modern-day examples of “vain babblings” and how might we “shun” those? How often do we find ourselves caught up with vain & profane babblings?

Furthermore, this might be a great opportunity to talk about the purpose and importance of Sunday School.  We read, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” and I have heard many incredible testimonies of people in their adulthood reaching back to what they learned in Sunday school in times of need. What are some nuggets that your students have taken away and applied throughout the years from their Sunday School experience? 

 Section 1 – Right Reasoning  
With such an emphasis on intelligence and getting good grades in high school, the Lesson this week gives us a higher sense of reasoning. And, what a wonderful opportunity we have this week to “reason together” (B1) in thinking about Creation!

Starting from the basis that God created everything – including man is his image and likeness – and that everything that God created was good, (B2) how does this help us to mark or “to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, retain, treasure up, observe, celebrate, keep, preserve” (Strong’s) the perfect man? What effect does this have on our peers, teachers and the world when we do so? Does this help us to begin and end rightly? (S1)

Mrs. Eddy talks about how right reasoning begins from a spiritual premise. (S2) So, what might that look like and what might be some practical examples of that? How do we reason from a spiritual basis in praying about identity and God’s creation of spiritual ideas that are constantly unfolding? Aren’t all of these ideas embraced by God? (S3) Therefore, are we able to embrace one another’s individualities as made in the image and likeness of God? How can this help us as we interact with others who might be different than ourselves?

(Sidenote: There is a really great podcast with Christian Science practitioner, lecturer and teacher Ginny Luedeman called “Fearless Individuality,” which may be helpful in talking about identity and individuality, as well as several other articles)

Section 2 – Reasoning from Cause to Effect (Genesis 1 vs. Genesis 2)
In thinking about the tale that we are told (B4) – that God created man from the dust in the Garden of Eden and then woman from man’s rib as found in the second account of Creation, let’s not lose sight of the “right reasoning” that was emphasized in Section 1!

Section 2 serves as a nice reminder to reason from cause to effect, not the other way around. How often do we start with the problem and ask, “Why am I not well?” or “Why did this terrible thing happen to me?” Is this right reasoning? No!! Have the students list out some examples of this type of reasoning and then practice reversing the claim. (S16)

Furthermore, I have found being able to differentiate between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 or the “Adam-dream” extremely helpful in sharing Christian Science with others. This might be neat to discuss with the students, as not many Christians seem to be aware that there are two separate documents in Genesis. (S6) However, Mrs. Eddy does a nice job distinguishing the two accounts of creation and offers some great insights based on reasoning from a perfect, spiritual cause to effect. (S7)  She also compares the Christian Science and popular theology version of “history of man” later on. (S20)

Also, it’s interesting to note (though not included in this week’s Lesson) that the second account of Creation begins with three simple letters: But. Similarly, you might hear people say things like “Well, I’m growing so much spiritually and have been so grateful for all that I am learning in Christian Science, but…” or maybe even just starting with the but. Nevertheless, there are no “buts” in the kingdom of heaven!

Section 3 – Reason past the “errors of corporeal sense”
Are we really helped by knowing both good and evil?

Kathy Fitzer does a great job in this week’s CedarS Met talking about fruit trees and providing a helpful analogy in thinking about the fruit that trees bear.  Some of the questions that she poses might be helpful to raise in your Sunday School class. Furthermore, you can ask your class to identify what are some things that we see today that are “pleasant to the eyes” or that supposedly will make us wise. (B10)  Are we sometimes tempted to indulge?  Do we? Are we fallen and without help if we do?

The citations from both the Bible and Science & Health can also fuel a nice discussion on the problem of evil if that has ever come up in class or is on students’ minds in relation to recent events.  How do we correctly reason through all the terrible things that seem to be presenting themselves all across the world?  According to which fruits are we reasoning?  How does Science (capital S) break the illusion? (S15)  

Section 4 – Reason beyond being cursed!
As we understand in Christian Science, man is not fallen nor cursed. We are not Adam – forced to submit to the earth and worldly beliefs for the rest of our lives. Nor are we Eve – subject to painful beliefs and limitations because of our gender. How does this reasoning apply to challenges that we are faced with in our lives each day? Also, how does the story of Adam, Eve and the serpent (B11) help us to understand the “blame game.”

(Side note: In thinking about stories, Jon Benson has a great lecture 20-minute called “Step Out of Your Story and Into Healing” that’s available on YouTube) 

We learn how to overturn (B12) false beliefs and stories by “reversing the material fable” in order to see spiritual reality. (S16) What are some more examples of this? How are we able to see the unreality of serpentine suggestions? What does the serpent represent in Christian Science? How does that relate, once again, to the “problem of evil?”

Section 5 – Wake Up!! Reason from the Standpoint of Perfection
What might it look like to “shake thyself from the dust?” (B13)  How did Jesus demonstrate this?  How might we demonstrate this in practical ways in today’s world?  Do any of the “Radical Acts” connect with this idea?   [Check out the Radical Acts Game, coming to Reading Rooms soon at http://time4thinkers.com/radicalactsgame/ ]

In thinking about the idea of perfection, do we really have a choice but to be perfect as the image and likeness of God?  What does Mrs. Eddy say is the “standard of perfection” and does this include man? (S21)  Should we look toward matter, discord or the “head, heart, stomach, blood, nerves, etc” to define man? (S22)  If not, from where should we reason out?  How can we demonstrate our perfection?

(Sidenote: Julie Ward, CSB gives a great 20-minute lecture called “You’re Not Guilty” which relates to the idea of human perfection)

Section 6 – Reason & Revelation
Because this week’s Lesson includes content from the Book of Revelation, as well as Genesis, it might be nice to remind students about the chapters called “Genesis” and “The Apocalypse” in Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures.

What prophecies from Revelation are included in Section 6?  Do we see any evidence of them (examples: new heaven, new earth, purity, coming to fruition in today’s world?  In our schools?  In our own experience?  What light does Mrs. Eddy shed on the passages included?

What new insights do we have about the idea “to begin rightly is to end rightly” after working with the Lesson?  How do reason and revelation connect?  In thinking back to the Golden Text and what it says about the importance of the Bible, are we demonstrating the Science of healing and do we value the spiritual interpretation that Mrs. Eddy gives us?

Finally, below is a poem that was shared with me by a Christian Science practitioner, which goes really well with this week’s Lesson!  Please feel free to share it with your class J

GENESIS I OR GENESIS 2

By Woodruff Smith

 

Where did it begin

This idea called you?

In Genesis 1,

Or Genesis 2?

Which one of these concepts

Will prove to be true?

If you know what is what,

Do you know who is who?

In Genesis I in the 26th verse

There's a man with never a taint' of a curse.

But in Genesis 2 in verse number seven

There's a dust man conceived…

He'll never see heaven.

So it really comes down

To which one you will claim,

What thou see'st thou be'st…

So what is your name?

There they both stand.

Which one is you?

Is it immortal man one,

Or mortal man two?

If you're immortal man

You know what you're worth.

For according to law

You'll inherit the earth.

But if you're just a mortal

And made out of dust…

Is there anything to you

That's worthy of trust?

No, the thing they call man

In Genesis 2

Is the dream of the dreamer.

It never was you.

So know what you are.

Take your place in the sun,

You're the immortal man

Of Genesis 1.

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