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[PSST: Be divinely gift-wrapped—“not wrapt in fear nor bowed with tired labor” (PSST 7)]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson

for Sunday, December 11, 2016 on

“God the Preserver of Man”

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

As I have been thinking a lot about last week’s lesson and how it was very focused on the only-ness of God as creator (hence the Subject – “God the Only Cause and Creator”) I have been very inspired to see this theme flow over into this week’s lesson and expand from the only-ness of creation to the only-ness of what we are a part of and how we are preserved after being created! We immediately go from being created one with God to existing forever one with God! There is never a moment where we are not one with Him, and this week’s lesson reassures us that there never will be. There is no beginning and no end to us as God’s ideas, and there is no beginning and no end to God loving us as His ideas!

Over the last month or so, I’ve been really diving into the Christian Science Hymnal and appreciating all the examples of song it provides! There are songs about love, songs about unity, songs about fear being overcome, songs about literally any circumstance you can think of, and then there are more! During the Thanksgiving holiday week, I was particularly grateful that we are all God’s songs, and that we come together to form a perfect harmony, whether in work, play, study, etc. We are His song and are forever sung by Him. So, this week, I wanted to do something a little different with my PSST! I thought it would be nice to share a hymn that stood out to me as a summary of each part of the lesson and focus a bit more on that hymn than mainly questions that we can ask our students come Sunday.

PSST Subject: “Guile nor violence shall harm thee in eternal safeguard there.” – Hymn 33

While thinking about the subject of this week’s lesson, it stood out to me that there was an implication that I had been adding to this particular subject but that I hadn’t ever gone over in Sunday School with any of my classes… I had simply figured that they already knew it! God doesn’t only preserve us when it’s convenient for Him or when He “has time” for it. He preserves us eternally! God’s preservation of His creation is an infinite activity! And an activity that He does so carefully and lovingly!

PSST Golden Text: How beloved are we? “Man, beloved is in God’s care…” – Hymn 149, 426

The belief of death has been presented to me multiple times in the last month, and as I have worked to address this belief in my own thought, this hymn has become one of my favorites! I love that it was what came to me when I read the Golden Text! We are God’s greatly beloved! We have absolutely no reason to fear! This whole hymn, from first line to last, reminds me that we are not earth-born or bound to these material claims of “human nature.” We are held by God’s love above all material claims and this love, perfect love (1 John 4:18), truly does protect us from all manner of fear.

A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving my hand was bitten by an animal that I love so very dearly, one that seemed to be in a great deal of pain at the time. Because of my willingness to express God’s infinite and perfect love, not a bit of pain was experienced on my end in the moment of impact and I could be exactly where I was and hold this animal and cherish it and metaphysically support it. What are some ways that your students have experienced fear being totally cast out by Love?

PSST Responsive Reading: God’s promise of unity: “though mountains may depart from thee, and hills be far removed, His kindness shall remain with thee, His covenant be proved.” – Hymn 347

God’s covenant of preservation, protection, love, blessing, humility, light, is a kept promise! I love that this hymn provides scenarios that are not that far-fetched, ones we can relate to, in reminding us that God is ever-present and will never leave our side or let us out of His compassionate and infinite care. If the storm is doubt, He brings us peace. If the fear is of what others might say or do or how they might think about something, He promises us that this outside thinking cannot and will not prosper or come near us as His children. God’s word—“sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12)—silences any thought or word against Him. Our only inheritance is divine, and comes directly from our Father-Mother, infinite Love. We have only ever been and will only ever be united with this Love. When have your students felt so close to God that anything seemed possible? How do they know what is their divine right as His children?

PSST Section 1: Father-Mother God loves and blesses us all! “We thank Thee, Father-Mother, for blessings, light and grace which bid mankind to waken and see Thee face to face…” – Hymn 374, 375

This hymn has been a favorite of mine for many years, mainly because of the element of gratitude it holds, but this week when it came to me it had another element that stood out that I became very fond of! Throughout the three verses, there is a growing sense of gratitude. It isn’t stagnant or remaining the same throughout the verses. It grows!! It begins with a sense of gratitude in advance—that we are grateful for God’s hearing our call even before we communicate verbally with Him! We are thanking Him for hearing our call before we even call! What a sense of trust and love for our Father-Mother. In the second verse, we express gratitude for knowing God as Love, and not a human sense of love but a sense of love that surpasses any limited sense of the word, everlasting Love. In this verse we go even further than being grateful for Love; we share what we have learned from Love already: it “is not the author of discord, pain and fear…” So, in addition to being grateful for what we know, we are still expressing gratitude in advance for what we have yet to know! In the third and final verse, we continue to build on gratitude in advance as well as gratitude for what we already know, but we also add a sense of completeness to this gratitude. It is not an open-ended idea, but a complete and fulfilling experience.

This hymn outlines very simply how God loves and protects and shelters us in His kingdom. How can we see this sense of love and protection and embrace in our daily activities? What can we do if we feel a lack of tenderness or paternal/maternal love and compassion? Our Father-Mother is always ready and willing to remind us that we are already embraced in His/Her love!

(Bonus: Hymn 81! See what there is in this hymn that shows you how God is loving us and sheltering us and guiding us!)

PSST Section 2: Trust God to “comfort, guard and guide” – Hymn 9

This past fall (I can’t believe it’s already winter!) I was given a new insight to Mrs. Eddy’s quote, “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way” (S7, Science and Health p. 454:18-10). I’ve always seen this as a reminder to trust God’s lead, but this insight went even deeper than that. It showed me that God inspires. Then, God illumines. Then, God designates. All the while God is leading the way, but we need to trust each step of His lead: the inspiration, the illumination, and the designation. This hymn came to me while reading this section of the lesson because God leads us in many ways, but the most commonly known way is with angels! “He knows that angels that you need, and sends them to your side, to comfort, guard and guide.” This line from this hymn stood out more than usual this time when I read it. What are some angels that God has sent to your side, to comfort, guard and guide? Maybe a friend, or a pet, or a divine intuition? There are so many different forms that these angels take, but they’re all God’s promise of protection and love!

PSST Section 3: Love’s supply is infinite, and fully blesses us all. “I look to Thee in every need, and never look in vain…” – Hymn 134

Hymn 134 by Samuel Longfellow has shown to me over the years how God is always there to turn to, in every need, and will never fail to bring peace to any situation. I love the “always” and “every” of Mrs. Eddy’s statement on page 494 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (S10). I also love how consistently this statement was demonstrated by Moses in this section! (B10/B11) It was never in vain when Moses trusted God to command him to do what He knew he could achieve—whether that was bringing the children of Israel out of bondage, or parting the Red Sea so they could safely cross, or turning “rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters” (Psalms 114:8). Moses turned to God, trusting that He would meet every human need.

This trust that Moses demonstrated shows us that trusting in Spirit to meet every human need is demonstrating the trust that Love will, and does already, cast out fear (1 John 4:18). How could we possibly know that without fail, God will always meet every human need? That question can be answered with the assurance that God is not only All, but All-in-all. Can we ever sincerely ask All to be more than it already is? Can we inform All of what it is already aware of or bring more information to His omniscience? In summation, can we change Allness? Would we ever really want to? This allness is our inheritance! As we grow, we inherit from this infinite supply of wisdom and joy and patience and richness and intelligence and power – all from God and for the children of God; it is our divine right.

PSST Section 4: As God’s likeness, we are “exempt from age or decay” (S17)! “Thou gentle beam of living Love, and deathless Life! Truth infinite, – so far above all mortal strife…” – Hymn 23-28, 432, 433

Written by Mary Baker Eddy, this hymn is so tender and honest with how it handles the idea of eternal life. As I was reading this section of the lesson, I found that the fourth verse of this hymn kept on repeat in my mind:

“Thou gentle beam of living Love,

And deathless Life!

Truth infinite – so far above

All mortal strife…”

In citation B15 (Job 11:17) when it is said that “age shall be clearer than noonday…” and we will shine and be as the morning, I thought of how wonderfully this verse in Job describes us as a gentle beam of living Love and deathless Life! I usually think of this gentle beam as a beam of light coming from the sun, as we come from God. We don’t think of a beam of light as having a beginning or an end, a birth or a death, do we? How can we, as gentle beams, have a beginning or an ending? Can we really have a birth or death? We were created by God who is so infinite and eternal that He created us in that infinity and eternity! What a glorious concept and fact about our being!

PSST Section 5: We are FOREVER God’s beloved children! “Father, we Thy loving children lift our hearts in joy today, knowing well that Thou wilt keep us ever in Thy blessed way.” – Hymn 58, 438

As I listen (and sing along) to this hymn, I am in love with how clear it is about the peace and comfort that is present in knowing that we are in good hands – that we are all in good hands. This allness includes our family, our children, our parents, everyone in the world! We are in the hands of the true Comforter, what more could we want? Do we ever wonder if someone is falling into the wrong hands, influence, or behavior? When last listening to the words of this hymn, I found myself thinking of children who I have seen on the news lately who are being tried in courts for things they have done. Can a child’s innocence ever be tainted? There have been many times when I have prayed for reassurance that God’s children cannot be led away from Him or even feel distanced from Him. Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that “in Science man is the offspring of Spirit.” We all, adults and young children alike, are God’s children and are therefore innately good, expressing this goodness in the qualities of love, peace, compassion, mercy, and joy. These qualities from divine Love dissolve fear and assure us that only God is nearest and dearest to us as children, because we are the ideas of God, and as ideas of God we love God, good, alone. Because of our spiritual one-ness, only-ness, with God, He is with us wherever we are!

What spiritual qualities of childlikeness will you express today? What will you witness as other’s childlikeness?

PSST Section 6: What does it mean to be “at one” with your Father? “Arise, arise and shine, uplift thee from the sod, and let thy living light show forth man’s unity with God.” – Hymn 14

In this section, Jesus says “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (B21, John 8:12). What is this light? Is it material? From the moon, stars, or sun? Or is it spiritual light, which transcends and outshines any material rays of energy? Mrs. Eddy tells us that “light is a symbol of Mind, of Life, Truth, and Love, and not a vitalizing property of matter. Science reveals only one Mind, and this one shining by its own light and governing the universe, including man, in perfect harmony” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 510-511). Christian Science explains to us that this true light is indeed spiritual and its source is God, infinite Spirit, the perfect Mind and Soul of all existence! This takes us back to the Father-Motherhood of God! As children of God we truly are steadfast rays of light, beaming from a beautiful and boundless infinite source. Each one of us has the power to be steadfastly conscious of the divine ideal man, and not to permit erroneous concepts of God, man, and the universe to obscure or dim His expression of radiant, immortal Soul, God! Our radiation of the true light, which comes from divine Principle, will eliminate all the false, material beliefs of mortality. All mental darkness, all that overshadows humanity, disappears in the heavenly effulgence of divine Light.

What are some ways you’re going to act in harmony with your perfect Principle, Love, today? What are some ways that Science reveals and explains to us that we cannot be separate from our Creator, God, just as light cannot be separate from its infinite source?

PSST Section 7: We are forever sustained, preserved, wrapped in God’s care. “Then in this radiant light of adoration, we know that man beloved is in God’s care, not wrapt in fear nor bowed with tired labor, but satisfied, complete, divinely fair.” – Hymn 149, 426

I love how short and sweet this section is, wrapping up all that we have learned and reviewed in this lesson!

1. God is our keeper!

2. He preserves us and keeps us safe in His love!

3. We are called the sons of God and are inherently one with Him!

4. “Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God” (S30, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 516: 21).

5. We are led by divine Love, because “in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (S31, Acts 17:28).

6. We are sustained by God, an infinite and boundless resource!

The child God—created to be His—can lack absolutely no Godlike quality, but is eternally complete and is satisfied in the discernment and manifestation of that completeness. The false concept of man is what is “wrapt in fear” and “bowed with tired labor,” not the real man, made in the likeness of his Father-Mother God. Mortal beliefs of pain and pleasure in matter yield when we understand that God is the only creator and recognize that all that He created is and always will be spiritual, perfect, and complete, as He is. We are indeed, “satisfied, complete, divinely fair.”

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