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[PSST:  Are you teaching with “questions & answers”? (Man. 63) Possible questions below!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson – June 9, 2013

By: Heather K. Libbe, CS (heather.libbe@gmail.com)

Subject – GOD THE ONLY CAUSE AND CREATOR

As a follow-up to last week’s Lesson and en lieu of this week being Annual Meeting, it might be neat to begin talking a little bit about Church and some of the fruitage that was shared throughout Annual Meeting or even show some of the field reports if you can. (Highlights for Sunday School students might include Nathan Bermel’s testimony and the singing of Hymn #304 by Mother Church Sunday school members at the very end.)

Furthermore, it might be fun to weave in a bit about the Manual: How is the Church structured and what is the role of the Manual? What is the role of the Board of Directors? Do the students know about the various Officers of the Church? How often is a new President elected and who is the new Mother Church President? What’s significant about this year’s Mother Church President? (See Gregory Lamb’s June 3, 2013 Christian Science Monitor article called “Christian Science church to have first president from Africa”) How often are Readers elected? By whom? Who are the new Readers? What are their roles and how many services do they conduct a week? Are the students aware of the online testimony meetings that are recorded in Boston and include testimonies that are submitted from around the world? What other online resources are available through ChristianScience.com, JSHOnline and TMCYouth to support their spiritual growth and study of the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson?

Because many of the field reports mentioned community outreach, you could also ask them if they feel a part of the global family of healers and, if so, how they have felt supported by the Christian Science community around the world? How are they working to support the Christian Science community and pray for the world? Finally, what does Mother Church membership mean and do they feel a part of the global family of healers?

Below are a few additional questions that specifically relate to this week’s Lesson and ideas for activities that may be helpful in prepping for your Sunday school class, as well as a myriad of resources put out by The Mother Church. Hope you have an uplifting time!

Golden Text (John 1:3)
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

The following questions may arise in thinking about the Golden Text:
If God created everything, did he create “man-made” things such as table, chairs, hymnals, clothes, books, pencils, papers, etc?
Did God create material things?
How can we reconcile the material with the spiritual?

Big questions?  Yes!

However, a great resource might be to check out the Feb 25th Question of the Week on Time4Thinkers.com where Christian Science practitioner Eric Oyama’s shares some ideas in response to these two questions: Why does Mary Baker Eddy say God couldn’t create matter? How is that possible if He created everything? 

(Side note: The ideas and reasoning in citation S5 might also be helpful)

Responsive Reading (Psalms 145:1, 5, 9-13, 17; 66:1, 2, 5 (to :))
It’s not uncommon that to hear someone say, “Praise the Lord!” Since the Responsive Reading emphasizes doing so in a variety of ways, what might this look like in our experience? Are we truly grateful for God and all that He has made?

Also, I read a thought provoking, blog by Jim Palmer called “15 Things Jesus Didn’t Say” (Dec 14, 2012) this week, which took some of Jesus’ teachings and tweaked them a bit to show what beliefs we might find in today’s world. For example, he wrote instead of what we actually find in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in Heaven after the earth goes up in flames and is destroyed.”

Though many of the examples that he gave were not exactly ideas that would be something Christian Scientists would be tempted to believe, I appreciated his lightheartedness and started thinking about how easy it can seem to be to get tricked into buying into world belief. I also found it helpful to try and identify the lens through which several of the citations in the Responsive Reading might be seen. For example, instead of affirming that “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works,” (Ps 145:9) it can be easy to think, “God is good to some of us, but it doesn’t really seem like He’s being so to me or spreading his “tender mercies” to some areas of the world that seem to be experiencing large challenges right now.”

Nevertheless, we have a really powerful understanding to be able to reverse suggestions like these with the Truth! You could practice this with your students by identifying some common world beliefs and or fashionable diseases and having them refute these with truths from the Bible in this week’s Lesson and what they know to be true. 

Section 1 – ONE Creator and Creation
In this week’s CedarS Met, Christian Science practitioner Kathy Fitzer did a great job pulling out a theme for this section: Only ONE Creator. She begins, “Said in several ways throughout the Bible, the message is consistent… God makes and controls all things. Later she says, “If there were more than one creator… more than one creation… there would always exist the possibility of conflict and ultimate destruction.”

So, how do the ideas in this week’s Lesson help us better understand that there is only one Creator? (S1 & S3)
How does Mrs. Eddy define “Creator” (S2) and how does this tie into the Bible citations we read?
What does the one, true creation look like? (S3)
What does it look like to be “the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand?” (B2)

Section 2 – Who created man? GOD!!!
Around middle school and high school, we learned about sexual reproduction.  However, the idea that man comes from an egg and sperm doesn’t quite mesh with the ideas that “All things are created spiritually” (S6) and “God created man.” (S7)
So, which account of creation is correct and true?
How can we believe that we are spiritual when it seems that we were created materially?
What does Mrs. Eddy have to say about reproduction and multiplication? (S9)
How does this relate to the story of Abraham and Sarah and the fact that it seemed impossible that they would be able to have a child? (B6 & B8)

One of my favorite words at the moment is “unfold” and I found it interesting to discover that it appeared several times throughout this week’s Lesson. (ex: S3 & S8)  
What does that word mean and how does it relate to creation?
How does it relate to our experiences, especially those where it seems that we have to create something like a project or school assignment?
Who’s the real Creator?  Are we separate from that Creator? 

(Side note: In this week’s Sentinel AudioChat called “A spiritual approach to women and children in the family,” Bosede Bakarey, CSB of Nigeria shares some really uplifting ideas about women, children, prayer and healing in response to some very heartfelt questions from listeners)

Section 3 – We are not cursed, but blessed
Right at the beginning of Genesis, [as part of the Adam & Eve mythical allegory] we are presented with the idea that we are cursed: Man is cursed to ‘til the ground and woman is cursed in relationships and childbirth. However, we don’t have to buy into those mythical beliefs for one second!  We are not cursed!  Rather, we are blessed as the reflection – the image and likeness – of God!

Because your Sunday School students might not be as familiar with the story of Balak and Balaam, (B11 & B12) it might be neat to do a “deep dive” into the story during class.  This could include using various Bible commentaries and resources or just doing a closed reading where everyone shares their insights as you work your way through the story. 

Again, this week also provides some helpful ideas in looking at the problem of evil if that has come up in your class. (S11, S12 & S14)

Section 4 – Who is actually doing the work!?!?
It can be very tempting to put ourselves in the creator role, to think that we have to come up with things on our own or are operating independently from God. However, we’re not and this section makes that perfectly clear! (S17)

Because many teens are finishing up the school year, completing their final assignments and studying for exams, it may be helpful to spend some time working with the ideas from both the Bible and Science and Health.  They help us realize who is actually doing the work (B15) and emphasize that this work is complete. (B16)

However, if “nothing is new to Spirit,” (S16) why does it seem that we have to come up with things on our own?  
How can this be when it seems that there are so many different minds at work?  
Perhaps is the belief in separation from the divine Mind what needs to be handled?  
What tools in this week’s Lesson help us to do so?

Section 5 – God does NOT cause sin, sickness, disease and death
It’s not uncommon to hear people suggest that God sends or causes sin, sickness, disease, death, natural disasters and so on.  Can your class think of some questions that might be a little off, based on the powerful understanding, as Christian Scientists, of God as the only Cause and Creator.  
How does the story of Jesus healing the man with the palsy help us see this? (B20)  
What does Mrs. Eddy have to say about the origin of disease? (S21)  
How did Jesus help us to see this through his teachings and demonstrations? (S25)
How can we elevate our understanding of cause and effect from a material to a spiritual perspective?  

(Side note: Peter Jackson’s response to the Time4Thinkers Question of the Week of “Is Christian Science “mind over matter?” could be helpful in going deeper with some the ideas in this section)

Section 6 – Praise the Creator!!
I don’t think we can even fathom how the “wondrous works” of God (B21) and just how good God is.  As it says in the Bible, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (B23) So, how do we see, hear and become aware of them then? Materially or spiritually?

What does it mean to “look deep into realism” and how might that benefit us? (S27)
What basis should we NOT be starting from in learning more about God’s creation?
Where should we be starting instead?
What might this look like in our lives?
What are some of the biggest “feeble flutterings” that need to be reversed? (S28)
Are we holding on to the “fading forms of matter” and the “fleeting concepts of the human mind” or the “unsearchable realm of Mind?”
What happens once we start seeing God and man more clearly? (S29)

Of course, there are many different directions that you can go this week, though the Lesson gives us some great resources to go deeper in our understanding of God’s glorious creation! As it says in Hymn #462 in the Christian Science Hymnal Supplement:

“Praise the Creator. Let all within me sing!
For that’s what I am made to do, and
goodness it will bring.”

Have fun this week!

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