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[PSST: Recognize your one-ness with God and your division from anything unlike Him.]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Sacrament”
for January 13, 2018

by Aubrey McMullin, CS, Godfrey, IL
(618) 578-9407 aubrey.mcmullin3@gmail.com

What are your sacraments? In Christian Science we do not use material symbols of worship. Hymn 108 in our Christian Science Hymnal reminds us that “as we rise, the symbols disappear; the feast, though not the love, is past and gone; the bread and wine removed, but Thou art here, nearer than ever, still my shield and sun.” How are we rising? Are we rising in Christ, Truth, or are we rising in something disguising itself as truth? What promises are we making as we choose Spirit over matter? What are our promises as we recognize our one-ness with God, simultaneously recognizing our division from anything unlike Him?

I found myself surrounded by promises and prayer as I read and studied this lesson. What are promises we make as Christian Scientists? What is prayer, and how does prayer allow us and encourage us to maintain these promises? When and where and how are we finding, each and every day, the bread of Truth and the wine of inspiration? Are our promises and prayers bringing us closer to the recognition of our one-ness with our Father-Mother? Are we really dedicating ourselves, promising ourselves, to the movement of Christian Science?

PSST Golden Text:

“… I give myself unto prayer.” What is prayer? What are we promising to give ourselves unto? These two questions are answered throughout the lesson. See if you and your students can find where we are given definitions of prayer as well as what this promise of prayer provides for each and every individual.

PSST Responsive Reading:

(Psalm 5:3) Are we directing our prayer to God? Are we looking up? Are we being optimistic and trusting in God’s plan, or are we still – even a little bit – trying to make sure our plan is going to work out?

(Matthew 5:6) What are we hungering and thirsting after? When you’re hungry or thirsty, how much do you pay attention to other things? Probably not very much, because all you can think about is how hungry or thirsty you are, right? So if we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, where is our thought directed? What are we so fixated on that we can think of nothing else? What is the prayer in this verse? What is the promise? What will we be filled with if we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness?

(Matthew 6:6) What is the closet that we are being told to enter into in this verse? How many other times will this idea occur in this lesson? Why do we need to enter into a closet? Why is it important to shut the door? Why pray in secret, and how can we trust that we will be rewarded openly? Do we pray with an anticipation of reward? Do we pray with an expectation that our prayers will be answered? How do you pray?

(Matthew 6:9-13) What is the Lord’s prayer? Why is this prayer important? Mary Baker Eddy gave us a spiritual interpretation on page – of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. What is your spiritual interpretation?

PSST Section 1:

(B2, 1 Corinthians 14:15) How do we pray with the spirit? How do we pray with understanding? Mrs. Eddy says in her textbook on page 452 that “right is radical.” How are we understanding that through radical reliance on God we can find healing? Are we understanding the thoroughness of Truth? “Only through radical reliance on Truth can scientific healing power be realized” (Science and Health p. 167). How does this statement increase our spiritual understanding?

(B3, Job 16:17) How is prayer pure? What does this simple statement mean to you? Is this referring to our motives, to our actual prayers, to our demonstrations? What purity did Jesus demonstrate for us to follow? How can our prayer be pure enough, clear enough, direct enough to bring the dynamics of Love into our lives and the lives of those we interact with? How can we go forward and demonstrate this purity as Jesus did before us?

(SH1) “ARE WE BENEFITED BY PRAYING?” An Emphatic “YES!” Should always be our answer! How can we trust that our prayers will never leave us empty-handed? If we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness as was mentioned in the Responsive Reading, we will be filled! This promise follows prayer, and it is a promise of benefit – fulfillment. The prayer which goes forth hungering to God never returns to us void. How are we praying? How are we reaping the benefits? Are we recognizing the benefits as they come our way, or are we taking some of them for granted?

PSST Section 2:

(B5, Matthew 5:3,8) What do these particular Beatitudes mean to you? What are the prayers and promises provided in them? What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? When someone is poor in something, do they usually know exactly what they need? I think they would. So could being “poor in spirit” mean knowing exactly what we need in spirit? What is the promise for those who are “poor in spirit,” praying to understand spirit better? It is the kingdom of heaven. What is the kingdom of heaven? What does purity have to do with seeing God? Why is it that the pure “in heart” see God? What is the connection here?

(B6, Matthew 6:6; SH3; SH5) Here we are given again the verse commanding us to enter into a closet, shut the door, pray in secret, and we will be rewarded. What is it’s significance in this week’s lesson? What does the closet signify? What are you letting in? What are you keeping out? What can we do to better keep our closet a safe place for prayer to take place and for communion with God to occur? How does citation 5 in Science and Health demonstrate “no and yes” for us? Is entering the closet enough? No, we must follow entering the closet by shutting the door. Is closing the lips enough? No, we must silence the material senses. Is denying sin enough? No, we must plead God’s allness. Is taking up the cross enough? No, we must “go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love.” How can we be doing more? How can we be demonstrating the yes that is the activity of Christ?

(SH4) Why is this what we most need? What is the prayer of fervent desire? What does “fervent” mean? What is desire? Why should we pray for growth in grace? What is “grace”? How is grace expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds” What is the significance of these qualities?

PSST Section 3:

(B7, Psalm 77:13) Who IS so great a God as our God? When was the last time you asked this question of yourself and honestly answered it? How often do we give power or greatness to something or someone that is not God? How often do we keep ourselves in check where this question is concerned? Are we really holding ourselves to the practice of one God?

(B8, 1 Samuel, SH6) What is the purpose of this story in this week’s lesson? What was the significance of childlessness in the Bible? What was the prayer that Hannah prayed in this story? What was the promise that she made and how did she make it (“she spake in her heart” – 1 Samuel 1:13)? What does it mean to “enter into the heart of prayer as Hannah did? What was God’s response to this prayer? How do we silence the erring senses, the material senses?

(SH7) What does Mary Baker Eddy say here about audible prayer and its effectiveness? What does she say about its comparison to spiritual understanding? What is silent prayer? What is watchfulness? What is devout obedience? What do these three promises enable us to do? What are we warned about in this citation? Christian Science teaches that baptism and communion are ideas separate and apart from any material act. We can still respect the opinions of those who hold to the faith and custom of their respective churches and find ourselves no longer dependent upon nor uplifted by the use of material symbols. How do we maintain spiritual growth and continually and consistently demonstrate power over error?

(SH8, SH9, SH10) “Desire is prayer.” What do we desire as Christian Scientists? What is the promise that is provided here when revealing that desire is prayer? Can we lose anything when trusting God with our desires? How does God comprehend our desires? Does He know material, human, desires or does he understand our spiritual desire for understanding of one-ness? How does God fulfill our prayers? How does He meet our every need, our every desire? How does God collect our desires and unfold their fulfillment? How does He reveal purpose to us? How is purpose fulfillment of prayer? How is His authorship of us demonstrated moment by moment?

PSST Section 4:

(B10, Luke 18:9-14) What is the purpose of this story being in this week’s lesson? What is the prayer of the Pharisee? What is the prayer of the Publican? What does this story teach us about our one-ness with God? Why is our one-ness with God an important part of this lesson on Sacrament? When we pray, are we praying with motives like the Pharisee or with motives like the Publican? Are we living a God-centered life? Are we looking for good in others rather than fault?

(SH11, SH12, SH13) What are our motives in prayer? What is “true religion” as stated in the 12th citation from Science and Health? What does prayer nourish? What should prayer not nourish? What is forgiveness? How is that a prayer and a promise? What do these three citations teach us about prayer? What do they teach us about forgiveness? Christ Jesus knew the Science of forgiveness well, and he used it to heal all manner of sickness and sin. Have you ever been healed by the Science of forgiveness? Have you seen forgiveness heal others? Do true prayer and forgiveness relate to one another? How does prayer not cancel sin, but forgive it by destroying it?

(SH14) I love that this citation wraps up this section for us. The most reliable impulse for action that produces blessings comes from our readiness to obey God and our recognition that, in our true nature as God’s spiritual idea, being one with Him, we can never be deprived from divine Love. Our lives become more prayerful when we live from the standpoint that enables us to express truthfulness, justice, love, goodness, purity, affection, and selflessness. Are we endeavoring to be Christlike? Are we working to treat others with the spirit of brotherliness, peaceableness, benevolence, and patience? What is the quality and conduct of our work? Is it embraced in the Christlikeness of our attitude? Are we desiring only the honor and praise of God in all that we do? When we willingly and humbly allow love for God and the well-being of our fellow man – even the whole world – to motivate us, we and everyone we work with will experience the grace of God, His care, wisdom, and intelligent guidance. We will experience the “infinite blessings” referred to in this citation.

PSST Section 5:

(B11, Mark 13:33; B12, Matthew 26, SH18, SH19) “WATCH AND PRAY.” What is the importance of these two words? Why watch? Why pray? What do they mean on their own? Why pair them together? Why did Jesus ask his disciples to watch with him when they went with him to Gethsemane? In Sunday School, I learned of the importance of not only praying but of watching my thought as well, just like Jesus instructed his disciples. How often do we need to defend our thought? Are we confident in the absolute authority of a loving and good God that nothing can tempt us to believe otherwise? Jesus advised his disciples and us to guard thought constantly. Are we doing this? Are we watching and praying? (The article “Watching versus Watching Out” on page 232 of Miscellany could be a fruitful one for an older class if you choose to take on the word “watch” a little more carefully) Is being watchful a contributing factor to unceasing prayer? What is the promise made in citation 19 of Science and Health in this section? What are we promising to do as Christian Scientists? What is this promise about?

(SH16, SH17) What is spiritual refreshment? What is the true sense of spirituality? What is the spiritual signification of sacrament? How did Jesus pray? How did the Passover dinner close “forever Jesus’ ritualism or concessions to matter”? What did Jesus do when “the human element in him struggled with the divine”? Have you ever felt this struggle? If so, when? What have you done before to allay this sense of struggle? What is our motive in our earthly mission? What was Jesus’ motive in his earthly mission? Wasn’t it to demonstrate the Father’s will and in this way show that our motive in life should be likewise? Mary Baker Eddy says in Miscellaneous Writings (p. 208): “Mortals have only to submit to the law of God, come into sympathy with it, and to let His will be done. This unbroken motion of the law of divine Love gives, to the weary and heavy-laden, rest. But who is willing to do His will or to let it be done? Mortals obey their own wills, and so disobey the divine order.” Are our motives submitting to the law of God, Love?

PSST Section 6:

(B13, Acts 6:4) What does it mean to continually give ourselves to prayer? What is the ministry of the word that is prayer? What is “the word” that this verse refers to? What does “ministry” mean? Is our prayer God-centered or self-centered? Are we wrapped up in our own personal ability to pray effectively? Are we humbling ourselves regularly, yielding to the fact that God has the upper hand?

(SH21) What is consistent prayer? What does prayer mean? Why do you think this passage mentions “bleeding footsteps?” Have you ever felt like you were walking in the light, but that it was extremely difficult to do so? How does this citation bring us back to our prayer closet, mentioned earlier in this week’s lesson? We can revisit what a prayer closet is. Do we put prayers on shelves, or in drawers? No! It is wherever we are, because wherever we are, we can think. And we can love. Love is a huge part of praying. Why do we pray? Do we pray because we love God and because He loves us? Do we pray so that we can understand ourselves to be like God? How are we knowing God better? Are we taking time every day to think about God and what His law of right is?

PSST Section 7:

(B15, John 21; SH23) What does this story of the disciples fishing have to do with prayer and promise? What did the disciples learn about trust in God during this fishing trip? What is the significance of Jesus telling them to cast their nets on the right side of the ship? What was the promise that he made to their prayer for supply? Are you casting your net on the right side of the ship? What does this mean? What did the last breakfast signify for Jesus? For his disciples? Why did the disciples change their methods? How does Mary Baker Eddy explain their change in method? What was the newness of life that the disciples experienced? What newness are you experiencing daily?

(SH24) What is the highest prayer? What does MBE mean in this citation by stating that it is “not one of faith merely”? What is faith? What is prayer? What is the connection between the two?

PSST Section 8:

(B18, James 5:13) What does it mean to be “afflicted”? Have you ever felt afflicted? What did you do? What is the promise in this citation? What does it mean to be raised up by God?

(SH26) What does this citation mean to you? What is prayer? What is watchfulness? What is working? What is self-immolation? How are these “God’s gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind”?

(SH27) What are true motives? What are your motives in working and praying? What is the promise made here for those individuals who do work and pray with true motives?

(SH28) What is Eucharist? How does it allow us one-ness with God? Do we commune with ONE God?

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