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[PSST: Feel upheld by His free spirit and a true "unspeakable peace". (2)]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Spirit
for August 11, 2019

by Aubrey McMullin, CS, Godfrey, IL
(618) 578-9407 aubrey.mcmullin3@gmail.com

Mary Baker Eddy says, "The Christian Scientist has enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death; and he will overcome them by understanding their nothingness and the allness of God, or good" (Science and Health, p. 450). God is synonymous with Spirit, Life, Truth. If we, as Christian Scientists, are enlisted to lessen error by understanding their nothingness and the allness of Spirit, how does this week's lesson assist us in doing so?

Golden Text & Responsive Reading

A Christian Science treatment magnifies God in consciousness until all sense of evil disappears. What is Christian Science treatment? How does it magnify God, rejoice in God, and overcome the nothingness of error?

Do we sometimes think that if we are far from home and friends that there will be a lack of gladness? Where does the whispered prompting that we can be lonesome, unhappy, or sick, come from, except through the feeble lies of material sense rather than spiritual sense?

In the Responsive Reading we are told to "fear not… be glad and rejoice." How do we replace fear with gladness and rejoicing? How does Hymn 263 help us in realizing that our gladness is divine and can instantaneously dissolve fear? What is it that Spirit is revealing to us? How do we discern between the spirit which is of God, which we have received, and the spirit of the world, which we are working to outgrow and unlearn?

Section 1: Demonstrate UNDERSTANDING through Spirit!

Let's start by defining Spirit and spirit! In Science and Health, citations 2 and 4 (SH2, SH4), we are given a definition of Spirit as well as what Spirit does, but what is your own definition of Spirit? What is your definition of spirit? Do the 2 differ? If so, how?

Having defined Spirit and spirit, what do you think the Bible (B3) is talking about when asking, "having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Can we begin in Spirit and then understand perfection from a material foundation? What does Mary Baker Eddy (SH7) say about Spirit and matter's relationship?

What is the understanding that we wish to gain through inspiration? What understanding does Spirit give to us? The Bible’s book of Job states (B2): “There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." As God’s children, we reflect what originates in the all-knowing Mind — such as inspiration and wisdom — and that enables us to have the right ideas to move forward.

Section 2: Demonstrate CLARITY through Spirit!

What is God's lovingkindness that we are asking to be taught in citation B5? What is God's will that we are asking to be taught to do? In today's day and age, there seem to be so many different human wills and human agendas. How do we know what is God's will and desire for us?

Mary Baker Eddy, as well as Jesus, drank a bitter cup. She was reviled, rejected, denied, and betrayed, yet she had the good sense to regard all the malicious suggestions that were hurled at her, and at her work, wholly and entirely as suggestions, as hints of nothingness from outside herself, as wholly foreign to her own thought, which she recognized to be the reflection of God's thought. As her experience progressed she grew only more confirmed in her conviction that evil is unreal, and that only the knowledge of evil can bear the fruits of evil — in other words, destroy itself. After telling of one of her testing experiences she says, "I leaned on God, and was safe" (Message for 1902, p. 15). Clearly then, the method of protection in Christian Science, which was simple and adequate then, cannot be complex or insufficient now. How do we lean on God, feeling upheld by His free spirit (B6), and trusting in our expected end (B8)?

On the page before the one on which the above quotation appears, she gives us another glimpse of her simple faith in the power of God to keep her safe: "The popular philosophies and religions have afforded me neither favor nor protection in the great struggle. Therefore, I ask: What has shielded and prospered preeminently our great Cause, but the outstretched arm of infinite Love?" There is no hint of returning evil for evil, cunning for cunning, subtlety for subtlety; but there is a grand conviction of the allness of God, and the consequent futility and nothingness of evil. What does this section tell us about Spirit's senses vs. matter's senses (SH8, SH9)?

Mary Baker Eddy shared with us the idea of an "outstretched arm of infinite Love." How do we feel this? What are some blessings that we gain from pain (SH10)? How do we start from a higher standpoint of thought and rise, rather than be pulled into the depths of human affection, human history, human will, and human opinion?

Section 3: Demonstrate WISDOM through Spirit!

Success or failure in any enterprise is commensurate with the wisdom demonstrated. So, it is in the practice of Christian Science. Is this perhaps why 20 years after Mary Baker Eddy gave to the world the textbook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she published the first edition of the Manual of The Mother Church with a rule, entitled "God's Requirement," including as follows (Art. XXIV, Sect. 5): "God requires wisdom, economy, and brotherly love to characterize all the proceedings of the members of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist."

Great is the need of the wisdom of God to protect mankind! In this section, how do we learn that "wisdom is a defense," a protection; "wisdom is better than strength;" and "wisdom is better than weapons of war"(B13)? How do we see the truth of the last statement even now being tested by the desire for peace? If we know that "God is not separate from the wisdom He bestows" and "wisdom is better than weapons of war," then who is really better equipped in the face of a suggestion of disruption or war? How do we pray about peace for our nation, for other nations, for the world? Who is the one real power, and what is the only power obtainable (SH16)? How can we take what we learn in this section and apply it while "holding crime in check" and feel a true "unspeakable peace" (SH17, SH18)?

Section 4: Demonstrate PEACE through Spirit!

The unspeakable peace!! What is the unspeakable peace that the man in this section's Bible story finally gains when Spirit triumphs over matter (SH20)? How does witnessing the spiritual man dissolve the illusion of material man? We are often called upon to describe ourselves and others, and the way we do it can be very important to the one being identified—it may, even, contribute to healing.

The scientific mode of identification (SH22) based upon divine Principle indicates that we should acknowledge the spiritual fact that because God is the one creator, and His creation reflects Him and nothing else, each individual is Godlike, expressing the divine qualities, forever spiritual and perfect. But is this all there is to consider when we have to describe ourselves or others in daily life?

Christ Jesus did not close his eyes to negative traits that would obscure the inherent goodness of true individuality (SH22), and his denunciation of these errors often led to healing — as when he challenged the unclean spirit called Legion and allowed it no more to identify itself with the man who lived among the tombs at Gadara (B17). How do we see "the harmony and immortality of man becoming more apparent" (SH23)? How do we gain peace through this true identity being witnessed and demonstrated? How does indestructible being bring true peace (SH24)?

Section 5: Demonstrate RENEWAL through Spirit!

"The Bible teaches transformation of the body by the renewal of Spirit," writes Mary Baker Eddy on page 241 of Science and Health (SH25). How can we learn transformation of the body by renewal of Spirit in this section? What does renewal mean? Do we renew our trust in God daily? Do we renew our thought of oneness with God regularly? How is the spirit of our mind renewed (B20), and how does this teach us change of the body?

We read in Science and Health (SH28), "Correct material belief by spiritual understanding, and Spirit will form you anew." The individual whose thought dwells on God becomes less aware of the demands and dictates of the material body, for the divine facts of being, when correctly applied to false beliefs, inevitably transform the body and make it harmonize with good and truth.

Through the transforming power of Spirit, Jesus brought to human apprehension and utilization God's nature and power. Can't we do the same?

Section 6: Demonstrate LIBERTY through Spirit!

Where do we find liberty? The statement, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," (B23) carries with it the daunting idea that where liberty is not, there the Spirit of the Lord must be absent. If that were true, how important it would be that we first get His spirit; for then, we are free!! It is but another form of the expression, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you;" for when we find His kingdom and His righteousness, we shall be at liberty, and we shall be free.

What does having this liberty mean? We are no longer under subjection to material laws and material beliefs, but have attained the understanding of the verities of Spirit; the ever-controlling omnipotence of Good. There is liberty in that knowledge; — the undenied, unquestioned, absolute and eternal fact, that being possessed of the spirit of the Lord we are free and forever at liberty, forever emancipated from the cares, struggles, burdens and changes of this dream-life; and, therefore, at peace in the realm of the Infinite!

Seeing that the primal need of all humanity is freedom, and knowing that the slavery of sin, sickness, and death is no part whatsoever of God's handiwork, Jesus the Christ went forth to preach the true gospel and, better still, to practice what he preached! How do we practice what we, as Christian Scientists, preach? Jesus' words, his works, and his experiences with the universal thought of his time exemplified the liberty of a pure and undefiled consciousness, contrasted powerfully with the woeful unrest, despair, and ignorance of the carnal mind manacled by sin and its awful host.

The entire ministry of Jesus was for the sole purpose of freeing mankind from the claims of error and proving conclusively that God is good and that good is all; that, therefore, the sons and daughters and the whole universe of God reflect dominion, perfection, and power, being coexistent and coeternal with Him. To be perfectly free is to break through the shackles of human sense and be filled with the spiritual dominion and independence which our heavenly Father made available for each of His beloved children. To do this, we must leave behind the multitude of material things, must emerge gently (SH30), quietly, lovingly, from the sway and applause of the crowd, if we would go on our way rejoicing as unfettered individuals. Then, and not until then, shall we be able to know Deity as the one Mind, the one Life, the one presence, ONE LIBERTY.

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