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[PSST: Combine each section’s tools to still any storm with the peace of God. (6)]
Possible Sunday School Topics (P. S. S. T.) for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, Alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced”
for Sunday, November 29, 2020

By Tom and Amy Evans, former staff members and big fans of CedarS

P.S.S.T. for The Golden Text

What Bible story does the verse “Peace, be Still” (Mark 4:39) come from? (hint: Jesus said it) The Golden Text is a verse to be memorized. “Peace Be Still” is lifted directly from the story in Section 6. How is the verse like a main theme for this week’s lesson?

P.S.S.T. for the Responsive Reading

The Responsive Reading is setting the tone for the lesson. What are some patterns your class sees as they read the Responsive Reading? How is water depicted differently?
Look at the instruction to overcome fear, then what does a river bring when it's calm?
You might even look at the definition of river in the Glossary of Science and Health (593:14).

The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary points out that the Hebrew people were essentially "landsmen". The waves of the sea are terrifying, strange, and disorienting to someone who is unfamiliar with ocean currents and riptides. In the Responsive Reading, God calms them.
In the first citation of the Bible, God is mightier than the flood waters. Finally, in the sixth section of the lesson, Jesus calms the storm.

P.S.S.T. for Section 1: Hear Truth over the Noise of many waters

Have you ever stood next to the ocean (citation B1)? Think about what the "noise of many waters" sounds like. None of this compares to the might of God. Can you think of other tangible examples of God's power?
In citations S5 and S6 we see the comparison of the sound of matter to the still, small voice of Divine wisdom. In Section 3, Absalom is this loud, enticing voice of confusion.
How do we listen effectively to the still, small voice of Truth? (Practice seeing / hearing Spirit as the only authority…)

P.S.S.T for Section 2: See through confusion

In order to see through a mist of confusion, Section 2 gives us several tools in the Bible:

  • “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace:” (Citation B7)
  • Humble yourself (Citation B9)
  • Recognize that God gives us power and confidence in the face of confusion and fear (Citation B8).

Citation S10 asks the question "are thoughts divine or human"? (What does excision mean? If we're talking about the surgical removal of error with great precision, how does this describe our prayer? Is it just general and haphazard, or is it more precise?

How do we improve our accuracy in looking at the thoughts we entertain?

If your students are interested in diving deeper, try reading the whole paragraph in Science and Health (462:20).

A simple game Sunday School classes can play is to “stand porter at the door of thought” (from Science and Health 392). Holding up a hymnal as the door, the teacher can knock on the hymnal and ask “may I come in?” The student's job then is to ask what kind of thought are you? Then, the teacher can either describe a God-like thought or a mortal, limited thought.
Even if you have an older class, discuss the concept of choosing our thoughts carefully.
The need for accuracy in discernment in citation S10 is strengthened by the description of the thoughts of sinners at the beginning of Section 3, citation B10: "God is not in all his thoughts." Are your students taking time to welcome in the good and remove the bad? Knock, knock… what is at the door of thought?

P.S.S.T. for Section 3: Do not fall for sneaky, subtle tricks of animal magnetism

Who was Absalom? (Son of David)
What was he doing that was so subtle and sneaky (citation B11)?
How can we be alert to those types of thoughts that might creep in to our experience?
How are you making sure to be influenced by divine Mind, rather than human minds (citation S8, 82:31-2)?
Mary Baker Eddy describes the subtlety of animal magnetism as causing indolence (laziness) and apathy (citation S10, 102:20-23).
How are you staying alert to guard against this claim? Look to citation S18 for direction and assurance in your protection.

P.S.S.T. for Section 4: Trust in God, Fear not

Citation B14 (Proverbs 3:5) is a familiar verse: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding". This sense of confidence and trust in God is described concisely, but definitively in Section 4. Take a look at this section to help your class get grounded in the Truth. What steps can your class take to "be a law to yourselves that mental malpractice cannot harm you either when asleep or when awake" (442:30)?

P.S.S.T. for Section 5: See through temptations

Citation B17 includes a portion of Jesus being tempted by the devil. What did he say to the devil and then what happened? What can we learn from Jesus’ example?
Jesus gives instructions to his disciples as he sends them out to heal and preach (citation B18).

Why did Jesus tell his students to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16)? John Tutt wrote an article in March 1925 on this topic. This could be one you might want to share with your class.

What are you discerning (citation S20)?
Discuss citation S23 with your class. What are some ways that we seem to see the “material world…becoming the arena for conflicting forces”?
What is moral chemicalization? How have you witnessed it in your experience?
Citation S20 shows the poor guidance of materiality, while in citation S23 "Love will finally mark the hour…". Love gives us the correct guidance clearly.
Without a doubt. Citation S24 sums it up well: "Material sense does not unfold the facts of existence; but spiritual sense lifts human consciousness into eternal Truth."

P.S.S.T. for Section 6: Peace, be still… [combine each section’s tools to still any storm.]

Section 6 is like putting together all of the pieces from the lesson.

You might try out this exercise yourself prior to Sunday School and then ask your students to formulate their own treatment for safety if they were in the middle of a storm. It could be a literal storm on the sea or one in thought or one somewhere else.

The story of Jesus calming the storm is very familiar to most readers of the Bible. However, ask your students to take a look at the story and then think about the way Jesus could have prayed to calm the storm. As Christian Scientists, we do not want to be formulaic in our prayer, but allow inspiration to guide our treatments. This lesson provides tangible metaphysical tools to remove error with precision. Ask your students to build on some of the topics in the lesson.

  • Section 1- Hear the calm voice of Truth over the noise of many waters.
    • It is easy to say God is mightier than the voice of many waters when you're standing on dry land
    • To truly own that statement and trust in it wholeheartedly when you're being tossed on the surface of the sea in a boat requires a deep confidence in God
    • Mary Baker Eddy writes on page 108 in Science and Health "My conclusions were reached by allowing the evidence of this revelation to multiply with mathematical certainty and the lesser demonstration to prove the greater, as the product of three multiplied by three, equaling nine, proves conclusively that three times three duodecillions must be nine duodecillions, — not a fraction more, not a unit less.” Can we apply the insights gained from small demonstrations to larger challenges? (yes!)
  • Section 2 – Stay focused in the face of great confusion.
  • Section 3 Do not fall for sneaky, subtle tricks of animal magnetism
  • Section 4 – Trust in God and fear not
  • Section 5 – See through temptations
    • Overcome the temptation to agree that a natural disaster is right or an act of God
    • Don't agree with a suffering, limited picture

While we are meeting remotely, in order to write a treatment together or sharing ideas from a paragraph we are discussing, we like to use a shared Google Doc. This allows students and teacher to edit in real-time during Sunday School over Zoom video conferencing.

Enjoy this lesson! We like to think of it as building to this final section with Jesus demonstrating control over the loud and confusing winds and waves as well as the subtle doubt the world would try to sew in our thought. Citation S29 reads “To remove the error producing disorder, you must calm and instruct mortal mind with immortal Truth."

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