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PSST: Explore God’s sustaining influence and power
P
ossible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“God the Preserver of Man”
for December 4–10, 2023

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


P.S.S.T. for Golden Text

What does preserve mean? That which sustains the existence of something. Think about what a “life preserver” does in the water. It keeps one safe, afloat, and preserves their being. So God is our preserver. Not matter, not error, not what we think. But God – Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love. When we put our trust in what God is saying to us, then we feel God sustaining us, buoying us, keeping us afloat.


P.S.S.T. for Responsive Reading

God is telling Joshua to be courageous before sending him out on his mission. Sometimes our missions may not always be easy. But if we can have the strength and courage that come from God, then we can put our trust in God and God’s abilities and succeed.

Peace and harmony are excellent qualities of God. Sometimes strength, courage, and persistence are needed too! We can think of these as blending both of our masculine and feminine qualities. Since we are each whole and complete individualities, we have access to all the qualities we need each moment. We reflect them!

Deborah (although not mentioned specifically in this week’s Bible Lesson) was an excellent leader and judge, just as Joshua was. So these qualities of strength, courage, and resilience aren’t gender-specific. They are imparted through divine Mind, and by listening to divine Mind we can discern and express the right spiritual qualities needed for each situation.

God certainly preserved Joshua, Moses, and Paul – who will be a key figure in this week’s Lesson. God preserved their soul; kept their feet from stumbling, as the rest of the Psalm says in the Responsive Reading. And God can certainly do the same for us.


P.S.S.T. for Section 1 – Step by Step

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (citation B2/Proverbs 3:5, 6)

See if your students can memorize this passage. It is a great one as they embark in academic ventures, college applications, etc.

Sometimes we may not see the whole staircase we need to climb, but we can take each step under God’s guidance and direction and trust that divine Love will point the way.

As the hymn says,
“Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, / Lead Thou me on; / …
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see / The distant scene; one step enough for me.”
(Christian Science Hymnal, No.  169:1)

“Step by step will those who trust Him find that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”” (cit. S4/SH p. 444:10)

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, said:
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”


P.S.S.T. for Section 2 – Put your talents in to use and watch them multiply

I love this story of the oil multiplying. When we put our talents and skills into use they expand! Whereas if we hide our talents or skills, they may just remain hidden and undiscovered. But when we improve our talents [as Mary Baker Eddy sas we “must” (SH 6:6-7)] and put them into use they multiply –  bringing light and healing the earth.

Here is how one Sunday School teacher utilized this Bible story with her class, and the excellent application of Truth to her own life.

Bible stories: nourishment for today


P.S.S.T. for Section 3 — Paul heals Eutychus

 The book “Stories of Healing” sold in your Christian Science Reading Room has a wonderful in-depth exploration of this Bible account.

It says:
“….You can reject thoughts of anything that is not like God and accept only what is good. By taking a stand for life, happiness, health, and safety, you will grow in your spiritual understanding and in your ability to prove God’s presence in your life.” (p. 229)

In regards to some historical context, it says:
“The Jews considered Sunday the first day of the week….The followers met on Sundays to eat and worship together. These gatherings were held in the evening because Sunday was a workday for them….Anyone could come – rich or poor, master or enslaved. Those who could brought food and in this way helped feed the followers who were poor…Sometimes the followers sang hymns or someone preached. Because these gatherings were loving and joyous, they have been called “love feasts” or “feasts of charity”…” (p. 227-228)

Enjoy exploring this Bible story through “Stories of Healing” with your class.


P.S.S.T. for Section 4 — God preserves Paul and his shipmates

 This section and the next includes Paul’s story about being shipwrecked (cit. B14/Acts 27:1-44). You might find this background from Bible Lens Research helpful:

“Julius—a centurion unknown beyond this story—expresses remarkable generosity to Paul during the voyage, allowing him freedom to visit friends at Sidon (see v. 3) and resisting the soldiers’ advice to kill all the prisoners after the shipwreck. Julius’ “band” was a Roman regiment, identified as imperial by the use of the emperor’s title. Adramyttium was located about 32 miles (fifty kilometers) southeast of Troas.

Without sun or stars, the sailors would have been unable to navigate accurately—and after two weeks (see vv. 27, 33), the crew had lost hope. But Paul comforts them by recounting God’s angelic message, confirmation of His dual purpose to bring the apostle before Caesar in Rome and save everyone on board.”


P.S.S.T. for Section 5 — Paul is healed

 This passage shares great ideas on where we should “look” – where thought should rest – when having a healing:

“Fixing your gaze on the realities supernal, you will rise to the spiritual consciousness of being, even as the bird which has burst from the egg and preens its wings for a skyward flight.” (cit. S23, p. 261:21)

Perhaps this is what Paul prayed when confronted with this situation.

How would your students pray?

Think about the context of this situation. Consider reading some of the other verses “outside the chalk” of this Bible story to get a larger sense of what the people were saying/thinking about Paul at this time.

Here are some examples of healing ideas:

How about knowing there is no power but of God; that matter has no life, intelligence, or truth; that fear can’t control us; that Paul couldn’t be punished when he was doing a good work for God; that this healing was to prove God’s supremacy and be a “proof of God’s care” to the people there; and that this healing was for the glory of God, so the people would know to glorify God as well.

Consider using this Bible story as a sample case in class and apply treatment to it together.


P.S.S.T. for Section 6 – Overcome fear and doubt with spiritual clarity and calm trust

Perhaps discuss the role of “fear and doubt” and how they try to take our mind off of Christ. They are decoys that try to keep us from worshiping Spirit and following the First Commandment “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

By keeping our thoughts on the First Commandment, we can be prevented from worshiping doubt and fear and make progress in tuning into Spirit and demonstrating Spirit’s abilities.

“Clear sense and calm trust” are what truly belong to us (cit. S27/495:16). And, we can pray to have the peace of mind that Jesus did even before he commenced his healing work – knowing that the healing would work together for good.

Enjoy your class!

 

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