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Possible Sunday School Topics (PSSTs) for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson: “Doctrine of Atonement”

for October 10-16, 2022

prepared by Merrill Boudreaux, C.S.
pegasus6524@gmail.com   •   314-308-1059


The subject of atonement can be difficult for students to grasp. In fact, Mary Baker Eddy states in Science & Health (SH) 23:7, “The atonement is a hard problem in theology,…” The need for atonement begins with the belief that man sinned, continues to sin, and chooses to separate himself from God, his creator. Thus, there is a need to seek forgiveness and somehow get back into God’s presence and God’s good graces.


P.S.S.T.  Golden Text (GT)/I Cor.8:6: “…to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

The Golden Text actually settles this debate by declaring One God, man linked to this God and never separated. Science & Health continues on page 23:8 regarding atonement,

“…but its scientific explanation is, that suffering is an error of sinful sense which Truth destroys, and that eventually both sin and suffering will fall at the feet of everlasting Love.”

Please note the word “everlasting”. If man’s relationship with God never ends and is everlasting, what need, or demand, is there for atonement? Here is another clear statement that helps with understanding no separation – SH 316:3-7,

“The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship.”

Perhaps this is a clear statement of the meaning of atonement spiritually uplifted to at-one-ment. No separation between God and man.

Read together Hymn 135 from the Christian Science Hymnal (words printed here) to help reinforce this idea.

Hymn 135
I know no life divided, / O Lord of life, from Thee;

In Thee is life provided / For all mankind and me:

I know no death, O Father, / Because I live in Thee;

Thy life it is that frees us / From death eternally.

I fear no tribulation, / Since, whatsoe’er it be,

It makes no separation / Between my Lord and me:

Since Thou, my God and Father, / Dost claim me as Thine own,

I richly shall inherit / All good, from Thee alone.


Responsive Reading (RR)/Isaiah 29:19,24 and Ephesians 2:13-22.

Paul had a clear sense of the at-one-ment when in Romans 8:35,37-39 he asks and answers the question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” If at any time you feel separated from God because of some (false) belief, whether of sin, sickness, or death, then pray with Paul’s statement to the Romans, and ask yourself that same question, “Who/what shall separate me from the love of Christ?”

What bible characters can your students offer who also struggled with the belief of separation, and through yearning and praying for an answer realized their at-one-ment? Examples, Moses who fled into the wilderness after killing an Egyptian (Exodus 2), Jacob after stealing his brother’s birthright (Genesis 27), and Elijah who fled from Jezebel (I Kings 19).


P.S.S.T.  Section 1 – Ask students to name other Bible characters who understood there is one God only and the link between God and man? Examples, Abraham, Noah, Christ Jesus, Paul, Elisha, among others.

See also Mary Baker Eddy’s clear statement as to what atonement is in citation S5/SH 18:1-9. See how she links atonement with unity. To us then is given the demand to demonstrate, to practice, this unity. See cit. S7/SH 202:3, “The scientific unity which exists between God and man must be wrought out in life-practice, and God’s will must be universally done.” Note the words “wrought” and “universally”.


P.S.S.T.  Section 2 – Think about the naturalness of breathing
Do you believe that God loves you? What proof do you have? Take breathing for example. Do you breathe, do you have to stop and force yourself to breathe, or is it natural? Are you always conscious that you are breathing? This is an example of something that is natural, built into our very being, maintained and ordered by a power higher than ourselves, yet linked together without seeming effort on our part. If you ever wonder whether God knows or cares for you, then think about the naturalness of breathing.

Who loved first – God or you? See citation B6/I John 4:10,16.


P.S.S.T.  Section 3 – Have students pair off & talk about the leprous man

We referenced citation B10/Romans 8:38,39 earlier in this lesson.

Ask students to pair off and talk with each other about how the man with leprosy in citation B9/Luke 5:12,13 was healed? What role did the understanding of at-one-ment have in this healing? Then ask the pairs to share their discussion with the class.


P.S.S.T.  Section 4 – What role does demonstration have in the practice of Christian Science? What is it that we are proving and using? See citation S17/SH 30:30-32, “We cannot choose for ourselves, but must work out our salvation in the way Jesus taught.”

See also the doctrine of Christian Science in citation S19/SH 304:9

“This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death. The perfect man — governed by God, his perfect Principle — is sinless and eternal.”


P.S.S.T.  Section 5 – Jesus’ demonstration of at-one-ment with God was specifically shown in the garden and on the mount at Calvary. See the statement from Psalms in citation B17/Ps.16:8,10,11,

“I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: …”

Why do you think we call Jesus the way and our wayshower? What does it mean to be a follower? How is Hymn 304 in the Christian Science Hymnal a prayer of petition and direction to followers? (words printed here)

Hymn 304 (-309, 573-576)

Shepherd, show me how to go / O’er the hillside steep, / How to gather, how to sow,— / How to feed Thy sheep; / I will listen for Thy voice, / Lest my footsteps stray; / I will follow and rejoice / All the rugged way.

Thou wilt bind the stubborn will, / Wound the callous breast, / Make self-righteousness be still, / Break earth’s stupid rest. / Strangers on a barren shore, / Lab’ring long and lone, / We would enter by the door, / And Thou know’st Thine own;

So, when day grows dark and cold, / Tear or triumph harms, / Lead Thy lambkins to the fold, / Take them in Thine arms; / Feed the hungry, heal the heart, / Till the morning’s beam; / White as wool, ere they depart, / Shepherd, wash them clean.


P.S.S.T.  Section 6 – After studying this lesson, ask students to write out a praise prayer thanking God for the evidence of their being at-one with God. Share with the class the praise prayer in Hymn 221 in the Christian Science Hymnal (words printed here).

Hymn 221 (543)
O Jesus, our dear Master, / Thy works, now understood,

Reveal their full effulgence / Through love and brotherhood.

Today Christ’s precious Science / Thy healing power makes plain:

With joy may all obey thee / And cast out sin and pain.

The Christ, eternal manhood, / As God’s own Son beloved,

A tender ever-presence / Within each heart is proved.

O God, our Father-Mother, / Thy name we see expressed

By man, who in Thy Science / Is perfect, holy, blessed.

O Science, God-sent message / To tired humanity,

Thou art Love’s revelation / Of Truth that makes us free.

Thy kingdom, God, within us / Shows forth Love’s sweet control.

God’s idea, man, rejoices; / He knows the reign of Soul.


Thank God for each of you, for each of us.

 

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