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[PSST: Claim that joy that's innately your own! (RR) Follow Jesus by expressing gratitude–in advance! (4)]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“God the Only Cause and Creator”
for December 9, 2018

by Aubrey McMullin, CS, Godfrey, IL
(618) 578-9407 aubrey.mcmullin3@gmail.com

Several themes stood out to me while reading this week’s lesson.

1. A focus on the innateness of joy to God’s ideas

2. A constant return to the fact that God is ALL

3. Reflection

4. Giving credit where the credit is due

5. The importance of trusting God

6. Always turning to God

Look for these themes throughout the lesson. Discuss them with your students. Why are they important? How do they relate to the Subject: God the Only Cause and Creator?

PSST Golden Text: How beautiful it is to know that we “are God’s garden and God’s building” (I Corinthians 3:9, Golden Text), equipped with the healing touch of Christian Science that can only grow and become more of a fortress as we do so! How does this passage read from the King James Version? What about any other translations? If God is the only cause and creator, and we are His garden and building, what has he created? What is a garden? What is a building? Discuss the simplicity and profundity of these metaphors with your class.

PSST Responsive Reading: “I am the Lord, and there is none else,” is a foundational fact and the universal truth which destroys the false claim that sin, sickness, or death can be a part of anyone's real experience. The material illusion of discord will disappear in the face of the joyous acknowledgment of this great truth. Are we really believing this great truth?

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes (p. 421): "Insist vehemently on the great fact which covers the whole ground, that God, Spirit, is all, and that there is none beside Him. There is no disease." As we accept God's allness, what do we begin to understand? How do we deny error – sin, disease, and death – effectively? As we demonstrate our understanding of the omnipresent Christ, the ideal Truth, the human sense rejoices in healing, in the proof that "the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him."

How do we demonstrate what God has created? If God has created “Jerusalem rejoicing, and her people a joy,” then how do we claim that joy which is innately our own? How do we claim something that we have already inherited from God? The one consciousness, which is conscious only of good, forever recognizes and sustains the infinite idea, man. The eternal fact is that this one divinely joyous consciousness is all there is to real being. Man's real experience is now, and forever will be, joyous, free, harmonious, and eternally conscious of infinite good. Gladness is a quality inherent in the divine Mind and is always expressed by man.

Everything in the Science of being reflects the self-sustaining, divine Principle and includes a true sense of worth. Each individual is worthy of the Father's love and care. And this fact is reflected in human experience as a right sense of value, a right sense of respect, a right sense of ability. There are no superfluous ideas in true creation. Happiness and fulfillment are not accidental. They are earned. They are not dependent upon others, but come from within one's relation to God. When being is understood on the basis of God's government, there is a just reward, and no one can deprive another of what is rightfully his. What kind of fulfillment are we given in the Responsive Reading? Who are God’s elect?

There is a human tendency to expect evil instead of good. The expectation of good rather than its opposite – evil – was one of the revolutionary steps our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, took, and pointed out to others as necessary, in metaphysical thinking. Even prayerful people had become accustomed to look upon the promises of the Bible with faint hope instead of with a definite expectancy of any present manifestation of the power of God, good. What do you think was meant by the passage, “They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them?” [Wouldn’t doing something “in vain” break the 3rd Commandment to “not take God’s name (nature) in vain”— or without a direct outcome and blessing?] How are we blessed by the work we are doing?

How can we trust that God knows our needs before we do and is already meeting them?

PSST Section 1: God, the ONLY.

In this section, we are reminded right off the bat that God looked at everything He had made, no exception – He was looking at it ALL – and saw that it was (and is) VERY GOOD! This includes us! How often do we look at ourselves and really see what God sees? How do we see this “very good” that He established in us in the very beginning? (B1)

Have you ever felt like you were striving with your maker? (B2) What does it even mean to “strive” with your maker? I looked up the word “strive” in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, and a couple of the definitions were “to contend; to contest; to struggle in opposition to another; to be in contention or dispute….” Ask yourself, honestly, have you ever felt at odds or in disagreement with your innate perfection? Have you ever doubted your purpose or your place? And when we have questions like these, where will we find our answers? “Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me” (B2). Ask God! Go to God directly with these questions and with these struggles! We can go directly to Him concerning ALL things!

How can we relate the definition of “creator” given to us in the Glossary of Science and Health to this week’s Lesson subject? What does it really mean, according to this definition, to be the only creator? If we know that God “could not create an atom or an element the opposite of Himself,”(SH2) then how could we ever struggle with suggestions of our likeness ever being unlike Him? What is the error mentioned in citation S3 of the Science and Health in this section? We know that God is All-in-all and that therefore all is in Him and belongs to Him. Are there any exceptions to this allness (SH4 & SH5)?

This section mentions reflection in citation S6. What is reflection? What does it mean to be a reflection? Look up the word with your students and really, thoughtfully, discuss what it means to be God’s reflection. What are the spiritual ideas unfolding here? What are their identities? How are these ideas and identities embraced?

PSST Section 2: The ALL-ness of Joy.

Have you ever felt like you were being convinced that your joy was being compromised? Have you ever felt like you were being tempted to believe that God couldn’t actually help you with your struggle or challenge? Citation B4 in the Bible helps us start to handle these claims of doubt and fear and depression. How does God lift us out of these so-called conditions?

Are we trusting ALL cause and ALL creation and ALL joy to God as Abram did? Heck, here was a guy basically 100 years old that was told he was going to have a son with his elderly wife. Even after Abram was re-named Abraham and had laughed at God for telling him this, God fulfilled his promise and brought joy to Abraham and Sarah. This definitely wasn’t their plan, but it was God’s. Have you ever felt like God has made you laugh by showing you what His plans for you really are?

What really brings you joy? (S7) Where does it come from? What is the source? Can it come from both matter and Spirit? If we really wish to experience joy, and the fullness of joy, where must our gaze rest? What is the true sense of things that we wish to gain (S10)? Speaking of the origin and source of joy, what is our origin? What is our source? (S9) What is our ancestry? What is our heredity or our inheritance? What is the law of our being as the reflection of All?

With all of this talk about joy, and how it is such a big part of our identity, we should probably touch on the fact that part of this section is dedicated to self-completeness. What is self-completeness? What is identity? How do we grow and mature in this self-completeness?
Do we look for a person to complete us, for a job or location to complete us, for a social or economic situation to complete us? Isn’t it only in God that we can find absolute wholeness and peace? [Consider Hymn 263, “Only God can…”] As the reflection of God, divine Love, Joy, our identity is literally Spirit’s self-expression! How cool is that?! The self-completeness talked about in citation S10 is one of the most beautiful and powerful facts about you. What do you gain from this citation?

PSST Section 3: Our SOURCE, God.

In this section, we are reminded that even Jesus credited all of his work to God – his only source. (B8) Do we? I remember reading part of We Knew Mary Baker Eddy Volume 2 a while back and reading a story of her gardener. It has helped me with receiving compliments as well as complimenting others.

Mary Baker Eddy complimented her gardener’s work on the roses and he replied to her that it was all of God’s doing. I remember LOVING her response to him. She said, “Never have I separated you from your Father.” How cool is that?! When we are giving God the credit due, we are also recognizing that we are not separate from Him and that His work is done through us! Jesus was constantly reminding us that man can do nothing on his own, but can do all things through God (B9). Whose will are we really wishing to accomplish?

I really appreciate this section’s Science and Health portion. We are given a reminder that all authority belongs to God, never to man. Our mission is to reveal this authority (S12). We also go back to that idea of reflection, so we can ask ourselves again, “what is reflection?” What does it mean to reflect “the creation of Mind, God” (S13)? This section’s Science and Health portion also handles a sense of ego. [Warren’s favorite acronym for EGO is Edging God Out.]
How often do we get wrapped up in a sense of “I” that is not about God?

Are we “independent workers, personal authors, and even privileged originators of something which Deity would not or could not create” (S15)?
What/who enables us to “demonstrate, with scientific certainty, the rule of healing” (S16)?
How do we demonstrate “Truth and Life, … health and holiness” (S17)? How do we fulfill this duty and gain this privilege?

PSST Section 4: The harvest of GRATITUDE.

What is it that we are harvesting? What is ready for us to harvest? (B11) When I read the first citation of this section, I thought of the question from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, (p 3) “Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more. Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.”

The following story of Jesus feeding the multitude is one we may be very familiar with, however when reading it after this particular citation I was reminded of the importance of giving gratitude in advance. How often when we working through a challenge or overcoming a suggestion do we really stop to give gratitude in advance, with an expectation of inevitable healing? How did Jesus give gratitude in advance in this particular story? How did God create supply and maintain supply? How does God do this for us today? How did what blessed one bless all with the loaves and fishes (S18)? How are we being blessed and blessing others with gratitude?

So, Jesus fed the multitude gathered on the hillside of Galilee by his understanding that when one sought "first the kingdom of God" all the things that were needed would be "added." Did he not seek it first? At this particular time, he had been teaching and healing for three days and his only visible supply of food was a few small loaves and fishes, but he knew that if God provided for the flowers of the field, he would surely provide for His children, because “divine Love supplies all good” (S22). Mary Baker Eddy says (S20): "In divine Science, man is sustained by God, the divine Principle of being. The earth, at God's command, brings forth food for man's use. Knowing this, Jesus once said, ‘Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink,'—presuming not on the prerogative of his creator, but recognizing God, the Father and Mother of all, as able to feed and clothe man as He doth the lilies."

If we study to know the truth about God because we are eager to learn and because we want to do right, we are seeking the kingdom first; but if we study from a sense of duty, harboring the feeling that we would rather be doing something else, or from the fear that something may happen to us if we do not, then we are not in the right mental attitude to recognize the other things that are to be "added."

If creation is “ever appearing” (S21), and “Spiritual perception brings out the possibilities of being… and so makes man the image of his Maker in deed and in truth” (S23) then what is spiritual perception and how does it relate to this ever-appearing creation? How does spiritual perception reveal the ever-appearing creation? How are we grateful for this ever-appearing creation before it is revealed to us?

PSST Section 5: God – ALL cause and effect.

This section is a big advocate for always bringing it back to God, whatever “it” is. How are we being blessed by the fact that God is all cause and effect? How do we bring it back to God in every and any scenario? What did Peter do in the story in this section? Did popular belief, suggestion of shame, peer pressure keep Peter and the apostles from doing God’s work? How did they escape the prison in which they were being kept? Do you ever feel like you are imprisoned in a suggestion of mortal belief (frustration, annoyance, depression, lust, etc.) and looking for the way out? God was, and is forever, in control even in the moments of imprisonment.

Peter and the apostles spoke some very firm and very important words when replying to the high priest’s question on whether or not they were told to not continue teaching in God’s name. They said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (B15). Have you ever felt like you were in a similar position before, where you felt like you had to choose between obeying God or other people? What did you do?

After having the Bible half-section focusing on always bringing “it” back to God, and God being the cause and effect of all, we have a really solid Science and Health half of the section that wraps up cause and effect really well for us. Once we have a good foundation of all cause and effect being God (S24-S27), we can move forward to “understanding scientifically that all is Mind” (S28) and thus destroy error. What is a corrective? What is an alterative? How do these two things reach “every part of the human system” (S28) and what happens when they do? How are we preparing for “the reign and rule of universal harmony” (S29)?

PSST Section 6: Finding SUFFICIENCY in God.

Paul's words to the church at Corinth, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God," (B17) suitably express the thought of Christian Scientists today on their dependence upon God. God is the All-in-all, the omnipresent, omnipotent, divine Mind, and man is tributary to God. Therefore, we know that "our sufficiency is of God." Maybe in the past we have been self-centered, viewing everything largely from an egotistical point of view, but now we attempt to keep the spiritual facts of being continually in front of us, looking upon all reality, including our own real selfhood, as entirely dependent upon God: the divine Principle of being.

As Christian Science shows, the sufficiency of God may be demonstrated anywhere and at any time. Unless God and His creation be understood to be perfect, and every form of evil recognized to be false belief, there is no abiding and altogether-stable faith in God. Unless God or Truth be understood as omnipotent, error will continue to pose, in belief, as an entity. It is necessary, therefore, to know the truth about God, and to hold unflinchingly to this truth in order to destroy whatever seems opposed to it. Mary Baker Eddy, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 456),"Truth does the work, and you must both understand and abide by the divine Principle of your demonstration."

Now, we know that God is all and He is all cause and effect. We also know that because God is All-in-all, then “whatever is governed by God, is never for an instant deprived of the light and might of intelligence and Life” (S30). What are some things that we might feel, “for an instant” that we are deprived of the light and might of God? How do we “forever reflect” (S32) our Father-Mother good? How do we find self-completeness and sufficiency in God?

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