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PSST: Discover your eternal, beautiful substance
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Substance”
MARCH
6–12, 2023

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


P.S.S.T. for Golden Text

“Consider the work of God:
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:” (Eccl 7:13; 3:11)

By considering the work of God – the spiritual reality of being – we can discover the inherent beauty and tranquility of the spiritual universe. A universe filled with love, harmony, and peace.

Our spiritual sense enables us to discern this reality and bring healing to the world and to our daily lives.


P.S.S.T. for Responsive Reading

A great premise of our prayers is that God made everything and made it very good.

“God that made the world and all things therein…” (Acts 17:24)

Mary Baker Eddy writes that “to being rightly is to end rightly” (SH p. 262). So, in our spiritual reasoning and prayerful witnessing about whatever circumstance students may be facing, we can begin rightly. We can start from a perfect premise – that God made the universe and everything in it perfectly spiritual, harmonious and free. This is our right to live harmoniously and peacefully.

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” (Acts 17:28)

This sentence denotes our absolute protection. We can give our consent to the spiritual fact that we live in and of God. We do not live in or of matter. Therefore matter and its circumstances cannot dictate our experience. We have the right to demonstrate our control over matter, just as Jesus did.


P.S.S.T. for Section 1 — God is the substance of your being

What does substance mean to your students?
I like to think of it as what we are actually made of. It can also be seen in qualities – joy, harmony, peacefulness, delight, continuity of good, freedom, etc. These qualities make up the substance of our identity. It is the way we make God visible in the world.

Explore Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of substance:
“Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay….Spirit, the synonym of Mind, Soul, or God, is the only real substance.” (citation S1, SH p. 468)

Incapable means having no possible ability. Students can demonstrate these truths in their experience through their precious realization of what is real and true spiritually.

I love this description of the “abode of Spirit”:
“From Love and from the light and harmony which are the abode of Spirit, only reflections of good can come.” (cit. S2, 280)

Abode means a place where something lives. If we live, move and have our being in Spirit that means that we must also abide in Love, light, and harmony. Sounds like a great place to live! Only reflections of good can come into your experience here. And you can only be a reflection of good. So you can have dominion over what you allow in your consciousness and thereby experience.

And the best thing about this spiritual reality is that it is permanent and immutable. “Nothing can ever be added to it or taken from it.”  It is untouchable.

Read in a shared view about a transformative healing that one student had: Catching Light


P.S.S.T. for Section 2 – Be still and listen clearly to God

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (cit. B5/ Psalm 46:10)

Being still is a great first step in letting in the healing Christ.

When we get still, then we can hear God. We can invite the still, small voice in. Hearing God’s Word heals us and calms us. So we want to deny anything that would prevent us from hearing the Word of God.

Jesus described it as going into your closet and shutting the door. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6 NIV)

Read about this beautiful testimony that occurred when this family was able to get really still and quiet. The reflection in the still pool

 

We can tell which thoughts are God’s thoughts when they are pure, peaceful, hopeful, and inspiring.

“Are thoughts divine or human? That is the important question.”
(Science and Health, p. 462)

“God’s thoughts are perfect and eternal, are substance and Life.” (cit. S32, 286)
When we have other thoughts that are unlike those they can be described as “false prophets” (cit. B6, Matthew 7:15).
We don’t want to listen to those.
What are the “false prophets” that your students can deny more fully? Share real life examples.

Consider comparing and contrasting the two opposite sense statements (material sense vs. spiritual sense) articulated so clearly in Science and Health p. 252-253 (cit. S7).


P.S.S.T. for Section 3 – Faith in the spiritual and eternal

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (cit. B10 / Hebrews 11:1)

What is the substance that we hope for?
Health, joy, resuming normal functions, peace, confidence, intelligence, the ability to succeed, etc.
What does this have to do with faith?
Can students have faith in something they can’t see – i.e. the invisible Spirit?
How does having faith that leads to spiritual understanding enable them to defeat error and demonstrate truth?

Consider exploring the definition of prophet in the glossary of Science and Health:
“PROPHET. A spiritual seer; disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth.”
(Science and Health, p. 593:4)

When Abraham was called to follow God, he couldn’t see how this new plan that God was leading him to was going to work out. He had to walk by faith rather than relying on his material senses. So did many of the prophets and leaders in the Bible. They all had to take the first step through God’s wisdom and guidance and continually rely on God’s wisdom and guidance to take them through their journey. This goes to show, can we really rely on material sense evidence? Or do we need to look to God to find out what is real and true?

“Christians rejoice in secret beauty and bounty, hidden from the world, but known to God.” (cit. S10, 15)

We are able to demonstrate this “secret beauty and bounty” and therefore make it visible to the world.

The 1828 Webster Dictionary defines discernment this way:
The power or faculty of the mind, by which it distinguishes one thing from another, as truth from falsehood, virtue from vice; acuteness of judgment; power of perceiving differences of things or ideas, and their relations and tendencies.

It continues with these additional ideas in the definition of discern:
To see or understand the difference; to make distinction; as, to discern between good and evil, truth and falsehood; To discover by the intellect; to distinguish; hence, to have knowledge of; To separate… by the understanding.

How does discerning spiritual reality help us and equip us?

How did it help the wise man in the story from Ecclesiastes?


P.S.S.T. for Section 4 – The Word of God reveals what is in our heart

“the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (cit. B13, Hebrews 14:2)

The Word of God is quick and powerful. I love the immediate transformation that comes when we hear the Word of God speak. It results in healing, improvement of our circumstances, and guidance leading the way forward.

Why was Jesus upset at the moneychangers? (cit. B14, Matthew 21:12–14)
What were they doing?
Do your students think Jesus’ response was just/fair?
Why or why not?

Three women are mentioned in these passages from Luke 8:1–3 (cit. B15).

Bible Lens Research has this great background to give:
“Luke’s list of female believers indicates women’s noteworthy roles in Christ Jesus’ work. The women listed here are apparently wealthy, providing support from their own resources. And while ministering (translated from the Greek verb diakoneō) may denote traditional duties of cooking or serving at table, these are nevertheless activities of discipleship.

“Of the three named women, Mary Magdalene is the most frequently mentioned in the Gospels—an emphasis that implies a respected status among early Christians. Her identification with her town of origin rather than a husband or son suggests that she had no close male relatives and controlled her own property.

Joanna’s marriage to a steward of Herod Antipas shows her to be a woman of privilege. (A few Bible authorities surmise Chuza to be the nobleman whose dying son is healed by the Master; see John 4:46–53.) Both of these women later appear at Jesus’ tomb and notify the disciples of his resurrection (see Luke 24:10). Nothing is known about Susanna.”

 The book of Luke consistently acknowledges the outcast and marginalized members of society. Themes in this book are about the universality of Christianity and the promise of salvation for anyone. It includes the idea that everyone is worthy of God’s love. This Gospel includes the parable of the Good Samaritan – showing the value and worthiness of the people of Samaria as well as the Jews –  and it includes more references to women than any other gospel.

Explore more of these key themes from the book of Luke in these two videos:
The Gospel of Luke Overview and The Gospel of Luke Themes on this Sunday School teachers resource page. Just scroll to the video section at the bottom of the page.


P.S.S.T. for Section 5 – Walking, leaping and praising God!

The book of Acts is awesome. I just love the way the momentum of Jesus’ movement has built. Just before this account of healing, the disciples were returning to fishing in despair after Jesus’ crucifixion. Now they are healing and preaching the Word with boldness! What a wonderful transformation – that all came through the Holy Spirit. This account of the healing of lameness through Peter and John takes place shortly after the Pentecost.

Stories of Healing is now available in paperback and hardcover (at your local CS Reading Room or at the online shop). It does a great job of retelling the healings from the New Testament – giving cultural and historical context and tying them in with modern day healings.

Here is an excerpt:
“Jesus had taught Peter and John well. He had shown them how important it is to see people the way God made them – happy, healthy, strong, and always the image and likeness of their Father-Mother God. So Peter and John thought about this man as the likeness, or reflection, of God and God’s goodness….Peter wanted this man to know that he was being healed by the same understanding of God’s power and goodness that allowed Jesus to heal…Peter’s words and actions showed his faith that the man was God’s spiritual, perfect child – and therefore he could walk. This faith helped the man trust that he could walk. The man jumped up, stood, and started walking. For the first time in his life, he could enter the Temple!” (Stories of Healing, p. 183)

Each of us can follow Jesus’ teachings and be a transparency for healing.

Mary Baker Eddy tells us where this healing power comes from:
“Hold perpetually this thought, — that it is the spiritual idea, the Holy Ghost and Christ, which enables you to demonstrate, with scientific certainty, the rule of healing, based upon its divine Principle, Love, underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being.” (cit. S21, 496)

And she assures us that it doesn’t take time, but can happen in a moment, just as it did with this healing of lameness:
“Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual, — neither in nor of matter, — and the body will then utter no complaints. If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well.” (cit. S22, 14)


P.S.S.T. for Section 6 – Throw off limitations

Through spiritual sense, we can discern the reality that God sees and knows. That’s the wonderful thing about John’s revealing of a “new heaven and a new earth” in the book of Revelation.

Speaking of this, Mary Baker Eddy writes:
“… St. John’s corporeal sense of the heavens and earth had vanished, and in place of this false sense was the spiritual sense, the subjective state by which he could see the new heaven and new earth, which involve the spiritual idea and consciousness of reality. This is Scriptural authority for concluding that such a recognition of being is, and has been, possible to men in this present state of existence, … When you read this, remember Jesus’ words, “The kingdom of God is within you.” This spiritual consciousness is therefore a present possibility.”
(Science and Health, p. 573:19–26, 31)

St. John was able to see that which is invisible to uninspired thought! Now that’s throwing off limitations. The Christ reveals this spiritual consciousness to each of us just when we need it.
By consistently identifying with the Christ we will have access to our unlimited, spiritual selfhood. We will have an ability to express more of God’s qualities. We will be better transparencies for Truth. This spiritual sense reveals the kingdom of God within each of us, just as Jesus did.

“Science reveals the glorious possibilities of immortal man, forever unlimited by the mortal senses.” (cit. S26, 288)

As students become more aware of their spiritual, immortal nature they are able to throw off limitations and exceed limited expectations. When we realize our intelligence comes from divine Mind, for instance, this gives us the inspiration and solutions that we need.

“A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity.”
(Science and Health, p. 128:14)

What are some ways your students can throw off limitations this week?

Enjoy your classes!

 

 

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