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[PSST: Be lifted up (like the risen Christ, the standard of reality) to draw all men unto you! (6) & (John 12:32)]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on;

Reality

for Sunday, March 27, 2016

By Steve Henn, C.S. St. Louis, Missouri steven.henn@gmail.com
[Steve's been a CedarS Program Director & teaches English at The Principia School.]

PSST Golden Text (GT): Two words/phrases stand out in this Golden Text: “lift up” and “standard.” Begin with the second; work with your students to uncover what standard means, especially in this context. They may already be quite familiar with this word, as “standards-based education” is a big part of school these days. What is the source of the standard being discussed here? Move on to lift up next. Why is this significant? What are the other ways this could have been stated – present, share, give, declare, and so on. But it wasn’t said any of those ways – Isaiah wrote “lift up;” why was it written this way?

PSST Responsive Reading (RR): The Responsive Reading suggests a purpose for the standard; how is a standard being used in the very first citation here? Might this suggest a new definition to consider? Look up how a “standard” was used in warfare of the time.
Inside this Responsive Reading there seem to be two roles played. Work with your students to identify what role God is playing, and what responsibilities She takes on. Then discuss what our responsibilities are; what does this Responsive Reading demand of us? Are we willing to take on these roles and responsibilities? What might it look like for your students to answer in the affirmative as they go about their own days in school, with family, and friends?

PSST Section 1: What does the glory of God look like, or feel like? Why is it important that the glory of God is upon us? Why do we prefer God’s glory to be upon us, instead of our own glory?

Butter and honey look clearly like symbols in this section. What are they symbols of? Your students could make educated guesses at this, but it would be even better for them to look these up in a Bible commentary. You can find great resources at BibleHub.com, or BlueLetterBible.org.

How old was Jesus when he was found speaking with the elders of the temple? How old are your students? How do your students feel about Jesus’ example? Is he a special person who we can never be like? Or is his life an example for how we should live? Consider what our view of Jesus means for how we use his example in our own experience.

PSST Section 2: Does Section 2 give us yet another sense of what a standard is? How is this idea used in citation B6? What new sense of standard does this section give to us? How can we apply these various senses of standard to our own lives? How does the life of Jesus fit the sense of what sort of standard needs to be lifted up? And who are the people for whom the standard of Jesus’ life is lifted up? Who is doing the lifting? Is it someone else, or do we have a role to play in lifting up this standard?

What connection is there between lifting up this standard and the physical healing done by Jesus, his disciples, and modern-day Christian Scientists?

PSST Section 3: In this section, we are given the procession of Jesus on Palm Sunday. What is the significance of this? How does it relate to his eventual crucifixion and resurrection? Why is it such an important event that it shows up in each of the four gospels? What does Mrs. Eddy say about Jesus’ experience and our path in following him? Is it an arduous path to follow, the sacrificing of all material unrealities for spiritual reality? Look at what Mrs. Eddy says in citation S15 – why is it a better, happier, and healthier path to follow than any other? In citation S16 we learn what the results of this type of living are; look at this closely with your students and discuss with them the value of this type of living. Take the time, also, to reflect on the challenges to living this standard today – what will be the resistance to their choice to live this way? Most importantly, how will Christian Science and the standard lifted up by Jesus be a support to anyone who takes on this style of living?

PSST Section 4: What does Jesus do the night he is to be betrayed by Judas? How does he speak to his disciples? Why is it so important for them to defend their thought against temptation? Do they do a good job of it? What about Jesus, where is his thought at this point? Does he have any animosity in him, any self-righteousness, any doubt of the power and presence of God? What do your students think it took for Jesus to heal the man’s ear in the midst of this heavy persecution? In what way is Jesus holding up a standard, or lifting up a standard to his disciples and everyone around him?

Mrs. Eddy makes an interesting claim in citation S17 – could Jesus have removed himself from this situation altogether? It seems that if he had enough understanding to walk on the waves and move through crowds undetected, he would certainly be able to do this… why then did he stick around? Why allow himself to go through the entire passion week? Do your students understand all that Jesus went through during this week leading up to the resurrection? What made it possible for Jesus to endure through this week? What does this example teach us? How is this a further standard being lifted up for us today?

PSST Section 5: Look closely at the meaning of “veil” both in the Bible, and Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual definition of it. This is rather important, isn’t it? What is it that is being “rent” in the earthquake that happens at Jesus’ crucifixion? What is Pharisaism? What was it in Jesus’ time? Do we have any lingering elements of it today? How can we help to resist this sort of thinking today? What responsibility do we have in our own lives to lift up the standard of spiritual living?

PSST Section 6: Who did Jesus first appear to after his resurrection? Why is this important? What do the customs of Jesus’ time suggest about someone like the Magdalene? Do we have any prejudicial customs today that need to be challenged? What does Jesus’ appearing to her first suggest about the real standard that needs to be lifted up in front of the whole world? Wrap up this lesson by discussing Jesus as the standard and his disciples as the standard-bearers beyond his earthly ministry. How did the disciples carry on Jesus setting of true standards for all mankind in their time? What are we doing today to hold this same standard for all who we come into contact with? Is this standard an exclusive one? Who does it reach to, who is eligible to take advantage of its blessings? What must we do to be able to benefit from Jesus’ example?

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