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PSST: Discover a spiritual substance within us that is fulfilling and lasts!
P
ossible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Substance”
for September 13, 2020

by Lindsey Biggs, C.S of Maryland Heights, MO
540 460 3515 biggs.lindsey@gmail.com

P.S.S.T. for Golden Text

This Bible Lesson is full of some of the great parables that Jesus gave us. There are more than 40 unique parables, sources say, that Jesus told. This could be a great opportunity for classes to dive into them!

What does this parable of the merchant and the pearl tell us? What are the kinds of things that have long lasting value in our lives? Are they material objects? Are they spiritual values? What are the kinds of things that last in the human experience – that remain a constant in the midst of change?

P.S.S.T. for Responsive Reading

What are “treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20)? What does it mean “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:20)? How can kids, teens, and young adults have “treasure in heaven”? Can they give examples of ways they do that? What are some ways we all have been tempted by materialism or consumerism? What is consumerism? What are the ways we can detect and overcome it? How have your students done this?

This section of the Sermon on the Mount is a great antidote to feeling anxious about our human needs. What does this Responsive Reading tell us to “seek first” (Matt. 6:33)? What benefit does this have? See if you can share an example from your own life about a time when you decided to “seek God first” instead of worrying about some situation and found some helpful results. If you don’t have an example to share, this one might help (“Effective Time Management”, CS Perspective/CS Monitor).

Share with your students the importance that Mary Baker Eddy placed on the Sermon on the Mount. Can you and your students read the Sermon on the Mount together? What are the qualities that it illustrates to us? What are the guidelines for living that it gives us?

“To my sense the Sermon on the Mount, read each Sunday without comment and obeyed throughout the week, would be enough for Christian practice.”
(Message to The Mother Church for 1901, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 11:16–19)

“Every man and woman should be to-day a law to himself, herself, — a law of loyalty to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.”
(Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 12:12–14)

P.S.S.T. for Section 1 – Find lasting satisfaction in Spirit, not matter

“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:2 NRSV, citation B2)

How does this Bible passage provide wisdom for counteracting the materialism of today? Of course, materialism is nothing new – even the prophet Isaiah was warning the people of Israel against it. This might be a great opportunity to explore the excessive materialism that occurred during the reign of many of the kings starting with the later days of Solomon in Israel/Judah that the prophets were warning against.

The passages in citation B2 and B3, Isaiah 55 and Proverbs 8, point us to the true satisfaction that comes from God. God wants us to look to and worship God because Spirit is ultimately what provides the kind of rich and lasting satisfaction we need.

“My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, endowing with wealth those who love me, and filling their treasuries.” (Proverbs 8:19-21 NRSV, B3)

What is the “wealth” and “treasure” God is filling us with? God loves us too much to have us be dependent on matter or external things for happiness, satisfaction, and love. God delights and rejoices in us, causing us to turn to God, and finding harmony, comfort, and love. With our treasure in God, our heart [motives, affections, aims] can be there, too!

P.S.S.T. for Section 2 – Faith opens our thought to new possibilities!

Some of the themes of this section are hope, faith, perseverance and ultimately restoration. It talks about when you have waited a while for something you have been praying for; or when things do not work out right away, and you really have to persevere. This story of Jeremiah is a great one – a great prophet to explore for his perseverance and resilience!

Let’s look at some historical context: why is he purchasing land and what does this represent? (Jeremiah 32, B6) During this time it is evident that Babylon is taking over Jerusalem and the city will fall. This isn’t exactly the best time to buy land, according to your real estate agent! So, what does the purchase of land and burying the deed for the land represent? It represents the fulfillment of God’s promise that the Israelites will once again return to their land. They will again experience joy, celebration, and a restoration of the land (after the 70-year exile).

What a hopeful message! No matter what dark clouds have encompassed us, the sun will last and outshine them. It’s inevitable! Light outshines darkness. So, we can have hope, conviction, and courage in our prayers.

Faith allows us to “see” the substance of who and what we are even before we see it manifested physically. Explore a chrysalis together (perhaps use photos) and how a caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly. What does this metaphor mean when Mary Baker Eddy says that faith is a chrysalis state of thought? (SH 297, S8)

P.S.S.T. for Section 3 — The substance of our being is purity, harmony, and freedom!

What does substance have to do with healing? We could say that every healing is possible because of the substance that is behind our very being. The substance of our being is fully intact!

When Jesus "beheld in Science the perfect man" (SH 476:32) or woman, that view healed! Why does seeing the perfect man or woman that God creates heal? Because he was seeing the image and likeness of God that is never in need of healing, but is whole, upright, and free! Do you think that is what Jesus was seeing [in advance about all womanhood as well as] about this woman who reached out to touch him and was healed? How do you think it felt to love her unconditionally and unselfishly? How was he able to do that? What role does love and seeing our perfect identity as a child of God play in healing? How did Jesus see the perfect idea of God? Was he seeing that idea with his material senses? Or was he seeing with his spiritual sense a beautiful, perfect daughter of God?

Do your students have examples of healing to share?

P.S.S.T. for Section 4 — Fear not, God is able to meet your needs

Why do you think Jesus sent his disciples to preach and heal without money or food (Mark 6:7, 8, B13)? What did this represent? Do you think this gave the disciples an opportunity to prove their faith and trust in God to provide all they needed on their journey? How can we have more of this childlike trust in God – a trust that our Father-Mother God meets our needs? Do your students have examples to share or ways they can apply this in the near future?

"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32, B15) Have your students memorize this line and pray with this idea when they are feeling doubt or lack. How does this passage give us the reassurance and comfort we need?

Mary Baker Eddy reinforces our theme of having "hopes and affections" that are spiritual, not material (SH. 451, B22). How can this be helpful when thinking about our goals in sports and academics? How can we spiritualize these goals in a way that blesses others and not just self?

P.S.S.T. for Section 5 – The time for thinkers is here and now

Mary Baker Eddy addresses "literary commercialism" and a "frivolous demand for amusement instead of for improvement." (SH 195, S24)

Are there ways that we can support organizations, industries, and individuals whose aim is to help and improve society rather than just make money? What are some ways that your students are socially conscious with the money they spend?

How can we look at the books and movies we consume to see if they reflect divine substance? Are they simply to amuse us/pass the time or do they demand some thoughtful consideration?

"The time for thinkers has come" (SH vii, S23). As thinkers, it's natural that we would be attracted to books, activities, movies, and organizations that are thoughtful, that cause us to grow, and benefit the world in some way. For instance, there are many awesome books and movies that shine a light on an important issue or highlight an important woman or man in history that we may not have otherwise known about.

"Observation, invention, study, and original thought…promote the growth of mortal mind out of itself…" (SH 195, S24) We want mortal mind to grow out of itself and disappear! Academics and inspired thinking help us to do this. They lift us up so our thinking becomes clearer and clearer until there are finally no more tares (material thinking) to mix with our wheat (spiritual thinking). So, we can have our aim to be improving our society and view of humanity through supporting activities that shine a light on who man is as the image and likeness of God.

P.S.S.T. for Section 6 – Look away from matter to Spirit to find true goodness

We conclude with looking again at the pearl of great price. (Matthew 13:45, 46, B24)
After a thought-provoking discussion with your Sunday School students, do they now feel differently about what this pearl represents than what they did at the beginning of class?
Has their appreciation of the “pearl” expanded?

What are some goals that your students can set for the academic year that will allow them to seek that pearl and have “treasure in heaven”? What are some ways we can focus on the spiritual ideas of God rather than dwelling on material objects?

What are some limiting things that students can “sell” – or drop – that might get in the way of seeking the kingdom of God first? Perhaps having them write in their journals for a few minutes will give them an opportunity for self-reflection about how they can grow and progress this year.

Enjoy your class!

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