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Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on;

Soul and Body
for November 24, 2019

By Steve Henn, C.S. steven.henn@gmail.com

PSST Golden Text – What does it look like to “prosper”? How does your class define prospering? What do they hope it looks like? What do they think John was intending to say when he used that word here? Is it meaningful that our soul prospers, as opposed to our body or material wealth?

PSST Responsive Reading See below the final section for questions that allow for an in-depth analysis of this commonly read parable.

What does the parable of the prodigal son teach us about salvation? How does the younger son’s soul prosper in this parable? What must be sacrificed in order for his soul to prosper? Could he have prospered in the same way without wasting his substance with riotous living? What is the substance he wasted? Do your students ever “waste” or fail to fully use the gifts God is giving them every day? What does it look like to fully trust in God? How does trusting in Her prevent us from being “desolate”?

PSST Section 1: What a call to action! Why should we arise and shine? What reason do we have to greet each day so positively? What does it mean that God’s glory is risen upon us?

Do your students feel chosen? Worthy of God’s grace/love? What do they have to do to earn this status? (Hint: nothing) How can that be? Wouldn’t the world turn to chaos if people were not held in check by fear of punishment if they do something wrong? What is the impact of truly recognizing that we don’t have to do anything to be worthy of God’s love and goodness?

PSST Section 2: How does God gird us with strength? What does it mean that he makes our way “perfect”? Does this mean that our path in life will be easy and free from challenge/trouble?

How often do your students praise God? Why should we praise Her more? What does it look like to praise God? What can we daily praise Her for? How can we benefit from praising Her?

What does it mean to be absent from the body and present with the Lord? Why do we prefer to do this? In what way does this benefit our daily experiences?

PSST Section 3: Is there really nothing too hard for God? What does this include? What are your students willing or unwilling to trust in God’s care? How can we grow in our trust of God, Soul?

Why did Jesus heal? Was it just to relieve the suffering he saw in front of him? Was it just to help those who asked for help? Why did Jesus devote his life to healing? What can we gain/learn from closely following his life and example?

PSST Section 4: What power does Soul have in the face of material imperfection – whether it be illness or injury? How does Spirit have any power in the realm of material existence? How are the sick healed? How do we remove disorder, imperfection, inharmony from our experience? Who is the true parent of all men and women? What is the source of wholeness, harmony, and perfection? Which laws, mortal mind’s or Soul’s, will your students rely on?

PSST Section 5: To whose power do your students yield themselves? What options do they have and what are the implications of the choices they make? Carry this question into the daily activities of your students – at each moment of each day, what source of power are we tempted to acknowledge as real, and how attentive are we to the choices we make moment-by-moment throughout the day? What must we give up to follow Soul, Spirit, to recognize God as the source of all? Are we ever left worse off by choosing God?

PSST Section 6: Why should our soul be joyful in God? Why should we rejoice? Do your students look to Soul, Love for comfort? Even if we seem materially to have made a mistake (like the prodigal son), how can we respond to the challenges of our daily lives? Are we ever not worthy of asking Principle for help? Can anyone ever do anything to separate themselves from the goodness of God? What is the true source of our being, power, and goodness?

PSST Prodigal Son In-Depth Study:

Who is Jesus’ audience for his parables? Is he speaking to the lowly sinners, or to the leaders of his day? What part of his audience do your students resonate with more closely? Why does the audience matter?

Is it significant that Jesus says “a certain man” here? Look up the meaning of “certain” and consider the impact of using that word in the opening of this story.

What can you do to help your students see such a familiar story with new/fresh eyes? What angles have they not considered? What is familiar to them that they do not tend to consider deeply anymore?

Who are the key characters in this parable? Who do they represent? Which characters do your students relate to? Whose perspective can they most clearly understand?

Why is it the younger son who asks for his portion of goods? Does that matter? What does it represent that the younger son is the one striking out on his own?

Where does the younger son go? Where is the “far country”? What is the importance of that to your students? Does it matter? Would the story be different if the younger son went next door with his inheritance?

What is the substance he wasted? How do your students define “riotous” living? Can they identify some forms of riotous living in their own experience? Push them to see more than just the extremes of sensuality or immoral living – what more common ways are there that we waste the substance of God’s daily gifts? What is the “substance” that our Father/Mother God is giving to us daily? Are we ever tempted to waste that substance? Keep this story close to your students’ experiences. Labeling the younger son as wasteful or immoral can make him easy to dismiss as different from us and prevent us from capturing a lot of valuable lessons from this story. Also, dismissing him out of turn as “wrong” or “bad” could alienate our students who are struggling with temptations of a similar nature. Work to help your students see how his worthiness is proven even in the face of temptation and distraction.

What does the famine represent? Is it a coincidence that the younger son’s riotous living was followed by famine? What does this look like in our lives today? When have we experienced riotous living that is followed by famine? Push them to see these activities as not exceptionally out of place, but presented to us daily as temptations that would pull us away from seeing God’s perfect creation.

Who is the father in this story? Who are his father’s servants? Who do they represent? What does it mean to be a servant in his father’s house?

Is it too easy for the younger son to avoid the natural consequences of his riotous living? Consider what happens to the younger son with your students – has the younger son changed at all? Or is he just looking out for himself? Should he be allowed to go back? He got his portion of goods/substance – is it fair for him to go back and ask for more? Have your students consider this from multiple perspectives – do they feel welcome to seek good from God after they have made a mistake or a series of mistakes? Is there a limit to God’s grace towards them? How about others – how do your students feel about God’s love for others? Should others have to earn God’s love and goodness, especially when they have stepped away from God? Does it matter if the person is a friend or a stranger, a fellow believer or an enemy, a good person or a bad one? How do your students feel about those who have done truly wrong things turning to God for support in times of need?

How does the younger son’s father respond to his return home? Why is verse 20 so critical to Jesus’ message/purpose for telling this story?

Does the son deserve the treatment his father gives him? Have your students consider both sides, why and why not? Why does it teach us that whether he deserves it or not, this is the treatment the father gives him?

Do you students respond differently if they put themselves in the younger son’s shoes? Do they deserve this type of treatment when they turn to God for support? How about others – do others deserve this treatment, regardless of what mistakes they have made?

What is David saying in verse 22 of the 34th Psalm? Open up to the full Psalm as a class and read it in context. What does it mean to be a servant of the Lord? What does it mean to trust in Him? How can we practice and grow in both these areas, especially when we are in the midst of a wilderness experience, as the younger son was?

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