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[PSST: Be “Man… the noblest work of God” (Hymn 51)]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson – March 10, 2013
By: Heather K. Libbe, CS (heather.libbe@gmail.com)
Subject – MAN

How beautiful that this week’s Lesson highlights all seven synonyms, as well as touches on guidance, relationships, dominion, music, spiritual sense, harmony and purity. Per usual, there are many different directions to go with all the various stories and citations included and below are just a few suggestions and questions. Additionally, this Lesson is a great resource to further explore Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth and Love.

 

Hope you have a great class this week!

 

PSST – Golden Text (Genesis 1:26 (to ;))

 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

What a powerful statement – we are made in the image and likeness of God! If you or your students have ever wondered why it says “our” when it’s just God talking, hope you will enjoy the thoughts that Kathy Fitzer’s shares in this week’s CedarS Met: “It has occurred to me (and especially as I studied this week's Lesson) that the our may refer to the multi-faceted nature of God… of His/Her infinite nature… as expressed by the seven synonyms identified by Mary Baker Eddy in the Christian Science textbook.”

Additionally, it’s neat to discover how much Mrs. Eddy’s writings coincide with the Scriptures, such as in Miscellaneous Writings where Mrs. Eddy says, “The noblest work of God is man in the image of his Maker…” (pg 294) Spring boarding off of this, it could be a great exercise to have your students dive in to Mrs. Eddy’s writings to see what she has to say about this week’s Golden Text outside of what is included in the Lesson.

PSST – Responsive Reading (II Samuel 22:31-34, 36, 37, 47), 50; Psalms 138:2, 5, 8) 

It’s so wonderful to see how relevant the Bible texts can be to our experience, which may be helpful to point out to your students. For example, if anyone is praying about guidance, the Responsive Reading is very apropos: God’s way is perfect and (S)he makes our way perfect; God enlarges our steps so that we don’t slip; like a Shepherd, God’s gentleness makes us great; God makes perfect everything that concerns us. We are also encouraged to praise God for His lovingkindness, truth and glory!

PSST – Section 1 – MIND

One direction you could go with this section is talking about relationships, which seems to be a hot topic amongst teens. Notice that, after Genesis 1:26 is repeated, included is the idea that God created both male and female. (B1) Following that, we read in Psalms “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (B2) How does Mrs. Eddy define “man” in Science & Health? (S2) How are we viewing mankind – both male and female? Which man – the perfect and upright man (B4) or the male and female that is presented to us in the media – are we being mindful of in our experience? Which version of mankind are we marking and beholding? How are we blessed when we focus on a higher concept of man? (S4) How have we seen goodness and power reflected by man? (S2)

Another approach could be to talk about dominion as a quality of Mind. How do we have dominion over God’s many works? (B2 & B3) What are some different ideas that Mrs. Eddy shares in her response to the question “What is man?” in Recapitulation? (S3) How have you and your students seen that man is the/has

  • Idea, the image, of Love
  • Compound idea of God, including all right ideas
  • Generic term for all that reflects God’s image and likeness
  • Conscious identity of being as found in Science, in which man is the reflection of God, or Mind, and there is eternal
  • Not physique
  • No separate mind from God
  • No qualities underived from Deity
  • No life, intelligence, nor creative of his own

PSST – Section 2 – SPIRIT

The mention of “I am the Lord; and there is none else” ties in really nicely with the Feb. 2013 Journal article featuring Desiree Goyette who shares some thoughts about music and the Supplement hymns that she wrote.  Furthermore, Hymn #51 could be used in conjunction with Isaiah 45 and again, Mrs. Eddy’s writings could also be referenced where she specifically talks about the roll of the potter and the clay.

In thinking about spiritual man and creation, it’s interesting to look at citation S5. Again, Genesis 2 is brought up. I once heard it said that if man was truly created from dust, that’d be a lot dust! So, how is man created instead? What does it mean to be the offspring of Spirit? (S17) How can we say that “man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements” (S6) if we can see all this with our eyes and learn about it in health class? If your students are familiar with the Time4Thinkers.com “Question of the Week”, how might the ideas that Mrs. Eddy shares in her response to the question “What is man?” in Recapitulation address this week’s question? What does it truly mean that man is the likeness of Spirit?

PSST – Section 3 – SOUL

How much better is it when we celebrate the glory of the Lord and our reflection of Soul together! How do we do that?

It is interesting to note that sight and spiritual sense are highlighted in this section. How might sight and Soul be related, especially in thinking about Jesus healing the blind men? (B10) What might it mean to “see through a glass, darkly” and how can we know ourselves as we are known by God? (B11) How might this tie into being made in the image and likeness of God and claiming this for both ourselves and others?

Furthermore, what does it mean to be governed by Soul & Sprit, as opposed to sense and the so-called laws of matter? (S8) What is spiritual sense and how can we develop that? How can we “change the human concept of life,” especially when we are presented with such a different picture each and every day? (S9 – which also might be good to highlight in looking at the Time4Thinkers.com “Question of the Week”)

PSST – Section 4 – PRINCIPLE

Again, what does it mean to be made by the Lord and what might be some ways that God fashions us? (B13) What does it mean to be perfect? How might that view of man help us when we’re not feeling so perfect?

Focusing specifically on Principle, how do Principle and harmony go hand-in-hand? (S14) What is Mrs. Eddy’s explanation for how to see through sickness, sin, and death? (S15) Does discord – no matter how real it seems – have any foundation? How do we see through discordant situations into scientific being, whether at home, school, during extracurriculars, athletics, etc? How does a better understanding of God as Principle lead to harmony?

PSST – Section 5 – LIFE

Again, we see perfection as a theme. What would a perfect Life look like? How do we “be perfect” even as God is perfect? (B17) How do we see perfection and Life expressed in the story from John? (B18)  How does man express Life, especially when he seems to pass away? What does Mrs. Eddy say that Jesus knew about sin & death, which enabled him to heal?  (S18) How might we give up our belief in death, especially when it seems to be all around? (S19) A February 1989 Sentinel article by Allison ‘Skip’ Phinney, CSB called “What Death Does Not Do” might be a great resource in talking about how to pray about death.

PSST – Section 6 – TRUTH

Hymn #382 includes the line “Thou art Truth’s honest child,” which is such a powerful statement that can be applied to this section talking about man as the perfect reflection of Truth.  How do purity and truth go hand-in-hand and what are some examples of purity that we have seen within the past week? (B20)  What might it look like to purify ‘sense and self’ (S25) and how does Christian Science help us work toward ‘purer desires?’ (S24)

What can we learn from the story of Zacchaeus? (B22) MyBibleLesson – as well as Kathy Fitzer’s CedarS Met – provides some really helpful notes about this story and how publicans made a living.  It’s interesting to note that, despite his corrupt ways, Zacchaeus still went to great measures to see Jesus and was receptive to the Christ. Also, Jesus didn’t have to even rebuke the error for Zacchaeus to repent and reform. Rather, Zacchaeus was able to see the error of his ways through the revelation of Truth. Have we seen examples of this when we chose to “behold the perfect man” in others? (S22) 

I have been very impressed to see how the movement has responded to a prayer request for the street children in Congo, which was posted on Time4Thinkers.com recently. Hearing about these dear Sunday School students’ arrest can be quite sobering, though we have such wonderful tools to pray about the situation that these children are facing. How might we, as a global Sunday School movement, use ideas from the Lesson – specifically Section 6 – to support our prayers? Can we take moments within class to pray to see the supremacy of Spirit and Truth in the world? (S7)

PSST – Section 7 – LOVE

Finally, love!

Each week, the correlative Scripture from 1 John is read from the desk during the Sunday service. What a wonderful opportunity to bring this up and go deeper with this passage. An article called 1 John, 3: 1, 2 ,3  from the January 6, 1906 edition of the Christian Science Sentinel might be helpful in doing so, as it gives several translations of these verses. Notice that 1 John 3:1-3 touches on many of the ideas that were included in this week’s Bible Lesson, such as being the children of God, looking passed material appearances to reflection and purity. How can we dive in further with these ideas?

Also, how can we – as the image and likeness of Love – practically and tangibly: 

  • Be perfect
  • Be of good comfort
  • Be of one mind
  • Live in peace

How do all the ‘one-liners’ in Science & Health help us do this? Why is there so much magnitude in the statement “God is Love?” How might the idea of God as Love help us share Christian Science, especially with those who don’t like the word or don’t believe in God? How does man reflect love? How can we, as a Sunday School community, express more Love this week? How can we “gravitate Godward” (S29) and prove our oneness with Love?

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