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[PSST: Avoid being caught up in the worldwide web of attractive illusions. (4) Claim your benefits in God’s health care system. (GT, RR) Stand for your perfect heritage to not fall for compromises! (2)]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson

for Sunday, April 9, 2017 on

“Are Sin, Disease and Death Real?”

by Aubrey McMullin, C.S., Godfrey, Illinois
(618) 578-9407

What are some of the promises about health and life within this week's lesson?

PSST Golden Text: God's promise of health and healing! What does this Golden Text mean to your students? How is God presently involved in our health care system today? How do your students define health care? What are some healing experiences they have had that have shown them that God restores health and brings healing? What is our role in this health care system?

PSST Responsive Reading: God is the source of health and healing! The Responsive Reading is clearly a continuance of the fact that God is our health care system and has promised health and healing. What are some of the benefits of having God as our health care system that are mentioned in this Responsive Reading? If you were to Google "health care benefits," there would be a little section near the bottom of the page that reads:

"People also ask:

What is covered by basic health insurance?

What are essential health benefits?

What is preventative care services?

What is the purpose of the summary of benefits and coverage?"

How do we answer those questions as Christian Scientists?

PSST Section 1: If God didn't make it, it isn't real! Look at the second citation from the Bible in this section. Do your students know what "variableness" means? What does it mean that there is no "variableness, neither shadow of turning" from God? If all that God makes is good and real, what does that mean for anything that appears to be less than good? Mrs. Eddy says in Unity of Good, "God is not the shifting vane on the spire, but the corner-stone of living rock, firmer than everlasting hills." How can your students relate to this understanding of God? Mary Baker Eddy also says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures on page 135, "The miracle introduces no disorder, but unfolds the primal order, establishing the Science of God's unchangeable law." Chance and change represent the variableness of mortal belief, not the truth of being. Human experience, based on the belief of life and intelligence in matter, seems to change from abundance to lack, from health to disease, and from joy to sadness. Such changes continue as mortal thinking changes. The testimony of the senses will disappear as we abandon material thinking and plant ourselves on the firm foundation of spiritual truth. Spiritual things, unchangeable and unchanging, alone represent the real. So how do we differentiate between what is based on the belief of life and intelligence in matter, and what is unchangeable and unchanging?

PSST Section 2: God's expression is only good! A friend said to me the other day, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." I didn't quite understand why he was saying it or what exactly he meant by it, but the phrase stuck with me and while reading this section of the lesson it came to thought again. Is it true that if we don't stand for what we believe to be right, then we risk falling into all sorts of compromises and perhaps even accept would-be substitutes for right which never truly satisfy? What did Mrs. Eddy mean when she said, "God could never impart an element of evil, and man possesses nothing which he has not derived from God."? Are we taking a stand behind the fact that we do not possess in our identity anything that has not come from God? How does knowing that God, good, is the only cause, guide thought and actions on a daily basis? What does the phrase, "there is neither a present nor an eternal copartnership between error and Truth, between flesh and Spirit" mean? Can matter and Spirit coexist? There is a wonderful article in Unity of Good on page 8 called "Seedtime and Harvest" that asks the question, "Is anything real of which the physical senses are cognizant?" What is your response to that? How does it compare to Mrs. Eddy's?

PSST Section 3: God has given us dominion over sin! Are we claiming the divine right of dominion? A part of the meaning of the word dominion as given in a dictionary is, "Sovereign or supreme authority; the power of governing and controlling; independent right of possession, use, and control." What authority do we find when we understand man's dominion? Is the good that we reflect demonstrating dominion over evil? How often is the dominion of infinite Spirit available? I've found in my own experience that humility is a prerequisite of the expression of dominion, promoting receptivity and obedience. How do you or your students see humility and dominion as related qualities? How do we meet financial obligations or other responsibilities promptly, gracefully, and lovingly? Are we consistently trusting infinite Love to unfold to us the qualities and ideas that are needed to attain the solution to any issue? How are we demonstrating the dominion that God has given us?

PSST Section 4: Christ shows us how to escape sickness! What is an adversary? What does it mean to be reconciled to God? Where is the spirit of the Lord? How do we find this liberty? There are a lot of commands in this section, all directing us towards this fact that we are capable of escaping this grasp that sickness seems to have on us! What are these commands, and how do we apply them and act on them regularly? Just the other day I saw a post on social media of a spiderweb that had been spray-painted and then lifted onto a piece of craft paper. As I looked at the intricate design of the web, I was reminded of the "gossamer web of mortal illusion" that Mary Baker Eddy talks about in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures on page 403. This image brought my thought to this week's lesson and this section in particular. A spider's web is such a dainty network of silken threads. Sometimes it is outlined with gems of frost in the winter mornings. Other times it sparkles in the sun. It can be a tempting thing to fly into for any insect, I imagine, but what a short-lived pleasure. Sometimes we even walk through these webs without seeing them first and those interactions tend to be more like the story of Paul being bitten by the viper: we shake the web off and move one. But what about when the web seems so beautiful to look at, or seems to really grab our attention? What a disappointment to experience how something that seems so harmless and beautiful can soon prove to be a cruel trap from which there seems to be no escape. What are some webs that we find inviting, only to realize we have become entangled and need to free ourselves from this web of illusion? Where is the spirit of the Lord? Mrs. Eddy says in her textbook, "Perfection does not animate imperfection… (God) does not produce moral or physical deformity; therefore such deformity is not real, but is illusion, the mirage of error" (S 20). Spirit is the only attraction. As we turn to this truth, we see this web of illusion swept away. "Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man" (S 22). What has God made you capable of? What are some suggestions that the "world-wide-web" proposes to us on a regular basis, and how can we demonstrate what we know as Christian Scientists to refrain from being caught up in this web?

PSST Section 5: Death is undone through God's power! What would it have been like to live in the early days of Christianity, to witness and hear about the healings that today we read about in the Bible? How would it have been to be living in Joppa (called Jaffa today) when Tabitha passed on? Tabitha was a disciple of Jesus, and was so selfless and such a good woman! Tabitha was a very well-loved woman of her time. What might it have been like to know her, love her, think she had passed on, only to return and see her alive as raised by Peter? Would it have seemed like magic? Or perhaps a miracle? Would it have been a window into the active power of prayer? What kind of questions do you think Peter was asked after this healing? Perhaps, how does prayer work? What's the best way to pray? How does prayer fit into our lives? Does it change us? Have you ever had a moment where you felt forced into a deep and earnest prayer? What is the difference between an attitude adjustment and prayer? How do we do as Peter did and shut the door on what the human picture is? What if the human picture is death? How do we know that God's power can undo this particular illusion? Mary Baker Eddy says, "The universal belief in death is of no advantage. It cannot make Life or Truth apparent" (Science and Health, p. 42). She also says, "what appears to the senses to be death is but a mortal illusion, for to the real man and the real universe there is no death-process" (S 25). This lesson has been reminding us of God's goodness in every section. Can the truth of life be hidden from anyone? Can God's creation, man, ever cease? Are we giving consent to death when we accept its picture as final? Let's be free from this picture by abiding by "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" that frees us from "the law of sin and death (B 19).

PSST Section 6: REJOICE! You answer to Spirit alone! The truth about life is gloriously expressed in Revelation 21 (B 22), "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." In Truth's refuge there is no night, no sorrow, but infinite light, joy, health, wealth, intelligence, peace, the presence of Life, Truth, and Love. Through Christian Science we can now find refuge in God, good; now are we protected,—"under the shadow the Almighty," – free from sickness, sorrow, hate, poverty, malice, and death. Does Christian Science admit that God is the author of disease? What is God the author of? Are statistics covering a long period of years, or many thousands of cases, necessary to prove the correctness of Christian Science? What deeper understanding of divine Love do we gain through putting what we are learning about Truth into practice? Are we rejoicing in the knowledge that God does not know anything of any material condition? If God knows nothing of a material condition, can we as His image and likeness "know" anything about the same material condition, be it sin, sickness, or death? Are we rejoicing in this? "Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine 'powers that be.' Such is the true Science of being" (S 31). Hymn 263, written by J. O. Wallin, is a wonderful example of rejoicing and finding the fulfillment of life in God:

"Only God can bring us gladness, Only God can give us peace; Joys are vain that end in sadness, Joy divine shall never cease. Mid the shade of want and sorrow Undisturbed, our hearts rejoice; Patient, wait the brighter morrow; Faithful, heed the Father’s voice.

As the stars in order going, All-harmonious, He doth move; Heavenly calm and comfort showing, Comes the healing word of Love. Who the word of wisdom heareth Feels the Father Love within, Where as dawn the shadow cleareth, Love outshines the night of sin.

So we find the true atonement, Know in God the perfect Friend; For in Love is our at-one-ment, Where all hearts in Him may blend. Here from prisoning pain and sorrow Have we all a sure release, Only God can bring us gladness, Only God can give us peace."

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