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[PSST: Acknowledge that we are sheltered, safe, free from fear and disease, indestructible, free from separation, and always resting under the sheltering wing of our Father-Mother. Download a Ken Cooper summary poem at upper right online.]
P
ossible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson

for Sunday, December 10, 2017 on
“God the Preserver of Man”

by Aubrey McMullin, C.S., Godfrey, Illinois
(618) 578-9407 aubrey.mcmullin3@gmail.com

What a great reminder this week! Not only is God the only cause AND creator, but He preserves all of His ideas once they are created! I’m sure that everyone learned a lot from last week’s lesson, but how can we build on those lessons while acknowledging that we are sheltered, safe, free from fear and disease, indestructible, free from separation, and always resting under the caring and sheltering wing of our Father-Mother? This week’s lesson covers all of those forms of preservation! Enjoy digging in with your Sunday School students

PSST Golden Text and Responsive Reading: How is God our refuge (sanctuary/ shelter/ protection)? How is He our strength (strong point/power/ authority)? If we are aware of God being our “ever-present guide” as stated in Hymn 53, and we are also aware that we are His reflection and image and likeness, then how can there be trouble?

"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust" (RR, Psalm 91:2). These words show such faith and confidence in God’s power to shield in protect! The whole of the Psalm is a song of gratitude for the goodness and protecting power of our Father-Mother. Are we thankful enough for the Psalms as they are preserved for us in the Bible? In “Pulpit and Press” (p.3) Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Our surety is in our confidence that we are indeed dwellers in Truth and Love, man’s eternal mansion.” God is Truth and Love, and man is God’s reflection. The real man therefore, by reflection, constantly dwells in Truth and Love. Doesn’t this understanding ensure divine protection and preservation? Can anyone who is conscious of Love or good possibly be conscious at the same time of the opposite of Love or good? How do we witness this immunity from evil and experience our Father-Mother’s preservation of our “going out” and our “coming in… for evermore” (RR, Psalm 121:8)?

PSST Section 1: How does the allness of our Father-Mother protect and shelter us? How does the “lovingkindness” of our Father-Mother protect and shelter us? “Lovingkindness” is one of the most beautiful terms in the Bible. The Psalmist writes, “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings” (B3). How does Christian Science teach that we must learn to understand God’s lovingkindness, to have more faith in it, and to depend on it for guidance and protection, in order to overcome the so-called evil that we are confronted with today? What does Mary Baker Eddy have to say about how God’s lovingkindness protects all of His ideas? Is it not out of lovingkindness that “the divine Mind that made man maintains His own image and likeness” (SH4)? Where do we see in God’s allness, His lovingkindness? Is there a point in existence where these two alternative descriptions for God (allness and lovingkindness) do not co-exist? How does their existence form and preserve “the individuality and identity of animals as well as of men” (SH2)? Can anything be excluded from this preservation?

PSST Section 2: How are we kept safe by following God’s lead? Who else has read the Bible story in this section? It was new to me! We are given the directives in the beginning of this story to “be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” How often do you think the words “be not afraid” are used in the Bible? 54. What about “fear not?” 144. How does this story show us the value in disregarding the suggestion of fear from the get-go?

The Bible shows the courage that Rahab displayed in harboring the Hebrew messengers, not only daring to disregard a royal command (Joshua 2:3), but also braving the traditional penalties for providing aid and comfort to enemy spies in a time of war. Have you ever been in a situation where what you knew was morally right was different from what the so-called authority believed was morally right? What about in friend groups? How can we show courage (allay fear) by allowing right motives to find comfort in our thought and encourage and protect our demonstration of our highest sense of right? What can we find in this section from Mary Baker Eddy that comforts us and encourages us to follow God, good, when making decisions that could appear to be difficult ones? Where can we find that we are preserved and protected when making decisions, safe from fear?

  1. “Clad in the panoply of Love…” SH6 – 571:18
  2. “Mortals must find refuge in Truth…” SH9 – 83:7-9

PSST Section 3: How does God’s power destroy fear and disease? "And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them." (B14, Matthew 8:14-16, W’s PS#3)

What was it that healed Peter's wife's mother, —made her strong and well, so that "she arose, and ministered unto them"? Surely no one can think there was magic in the touch of Jesus’ hand. “The miracle of grace is no miracle to Love” (SH11, 494:15 only). The fact that his disciples did similar works of healing would argue such a theory. What was it that caused this sudden change from weakness and suffering to health and freedom? It was the touch of the Christ-truth upon her life. Mary Baker Eddy says, "Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual,—neither in nor of matter,—and the body will then utter no complaints. If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well" (Science and Health, p. 14).

Do we have this touch of Truth which will free us from the belief of material life and the conflicting testimony of the physical senses, bringing us into the glorious understanding that we are the children of God, having dominion over all the earth? How can we demonstrate that moment by moment? How can we demonstrate and witness the selfless love that Jesus demonstrated for Peter’s wife’s mother – a “love for God and man…the true incentive in both healing and teaching”? (SH15 – 454:17-18).

PSST Section 4: Are we claiming our birthright – being indestructible as God’s ideas?

I love how this section begins with reinstating that the eternal God is our refuge (B15) and that as many afflictions as there seem to be, “the Lord delivereth (us) out of them all” (B18). As I was reading through this section several times, the question that kept recurring to me was this: “what is thy birthright?” (Hymn 382). Mary Baker Eddy states that “man is indestructible and eternal” (SH16 – 402:12-13). THIS is our birthright! Are we claiming this birthright every moment? Not only is man indestructible and eternal, but “the relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony…” (SH 19 – 470:32). Are we taking even a little bit of what we know and really working to understand it? What does it mean to be indestructible? Do we concentrate, on a regular basis, on the truth of our oneness with God as His idea? Do we recognize that we do not have to go back to health and harmony, because we have never truly been separated from the source of our health, God, perfect Life?

Hymn 382
Emily F. Seal

What is thy birthright, man,
Child of the perfect One;
What is thy Father’s plan
For His beloved son?

Thou art Truth’s honest child,
Of pure and sinless heart;
Thou treadest undefiled
In Christly paths apart.

Vain dreams shall disappear
As Truth dawns on the sight;
The phantoms of thy fear
Shall flee before the light.

Take then the sacred rod;
Thou art not error’s thrall;
Thou hast the gift of God—
Dominion over all.

PSST Section 5: What can separate us from God? NOTHING!
How did the Apostle Paul prove that no circumstance or condition could remove him from God’s care? How did he share with us that no human history can make us unworthy of God’s care? He tells us of being beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked 3 times, and drifting in the ocean (B21). Have you ever had a moment when you felt that you were in “the deep” as Paul described in B21? “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (B24). How do we demonstrate our consistent oneness with God? How do we demonstrate our true at-one-ment on a regular basis? How do we find the true atonement? How do we know in God the perfect friend? (See Hymn 263)

As we demonstrate that nothing can separate us from God, what are we witnessing? Can you share an experience in which you saw the evidence before the material senses yield to the spiritual sense? How does this experience affirm our unity with God? How does it bring us closer to the truth that we are not becoming more at one with Him, but rather understanding our inseparability from him? (SH22, 303:30)

PSST Section 6: Are we resting in the secret place of the most high, under the shadow of the almighty? (Psalm 91:1) This section brings us back to the beginning of the lesson, reassuring us that we are completely safe in His care. Are we taking thought of where we constantly rest, safely and without harm? What is rest? How do we rest in holy work? How do we rest, knowing that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”? How does God rest in action? What are the actions that we are resting in?

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