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Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on;
"Probation after Death"  for Sunday, 4-28-13
By Steve Henn, C.S. St. Louis, Missouri
[Steve's been a CedarS Program Director & teaches English at The Principia School.]

PSST Golden Text:  Think of an expanded definition of ‘death’ – beyond just ‘not living’ and including ‘rigid’ or ‘unmoving’ – how does carnal mindedness make us rigid in our beliefs, and prevent the natural progress of Life? 

How do we grow more spiritually minded?  Think of these questions as we read the rest of the lesson.

PSST Responsive Reading: To have Jesus, Elias, and Moses on the mount at the same time signifies something incredible about time, death, and ‘probation after death’.  Discuss that significance with your students. 

Also pay attention to the way this experience is described – bright, light, white; what do those images bring to mind for your students? What sort of mindset does this require of us in our practice/ relationships with others?

PSST Section 1: Do your students know that ascension occurred before Jesus ascended?  Who is Enoch?  What makes his experience one to follow? 

Why can the flesh not please God?  Think of the limitations of the flesh and the unlimited nature of God?

What does it mean to ‘stand fast’?  What about ‘Walk in the Spirit’?  How does Christ ‘make us free’?

Where does progress come from?  Why shouldn’t we avoid challenging situations?  Why should we work to be honest with ourselves about the progress we have left to make?

PSST Section 2:  Pay attention to how inclusive God is in his love for all mankind. Not only the loving are welcomed into his kingdom, but God wishes the “wicked turn from his way and live.” Do your students reflect that vision of others in their prayers, in their relationships?

Does this sort of welcome, though, come without effort?  There are no shortcuts to heaven.  Where else is this true in your students’ lives?  Where do we think we can take shortcuts, and what lessons do we learn from trying those shortcuts?

This section mentions ignorance as well, and how ignorance will not be a stepping stone to faith, or harmony, or death a stepping stone to heaven… where else in our lives can we not afford to be ignorant?  Look beyond school as well. 

PSST Section 3: Who is the ‘old man’ that we can be putting off from ourselves?  Think of what can be ‘put off’ from the high school experience – what lies, pressures, temptations attempt to attach themselves to this experience? 

How can your students reconcile the message of the third section with that from the second – particularly concerning how God will deal with the wicked?  Consider the third tenant of Christian Science to make this reconciliation.

Wrestle with this vital point “Perfection is gained only by perfection” – where do your students see this being proven in their lives?  Think of how it applies to the athletic field, classroom, relationships… how can your students embody this principle on a daily basis? Help them remove the sense of pressure to ‘be perfect’ and recognize the freedom of working ‘out from perfection’ rather than up to it.

PSST Section 4: What are we transforming from and to in our minds?  What does it take to ‘renew’ our minds – and why do we do this?  Look at citation B13 for some answers to these questions.

Why is charity the ‘bond of perfectness’?

What are the fruits of the spirit and how can we find them/approach them/achieve them?  Why should we strive for them?

This doesn’t seem like an easy path – why follow it?  What is expected of us in this section; and what is the promise given to us?

Does pursuing God and spirituality preclude our abilities to follow our dreams? (see S18)

PSST Section 5: When pursuing a goal, how do your students respond to setbacks?  Look at how Jesus responded to the message that the ruler’s daughter was dead – why was he able to respond that way; how can we learn from Jesus’ response in our own lives?

Again, how did Jesus respond to the laughter that he faced inside the house?  How can that apply to our daily lives in sports, school, and with friends?

As a side note, we often overlook the courage of Jesus’ character because we know everything turns out alright for him in the end; but take a moment to consider things from his perspective, in the moment, where it isn’t clear that things will turn our alright – how is Jesus, in those moments, able to maintain his composure?

The Science and Health portion of this lesson does much to answer the questions above.

PSST Section 6: There is a wonderful sense of compassion in the lesson this week; and yet it does not allow for apathy or a reduction in standards/expectations of any kind.  What is expected of us? What compassion can we count on from this section?

If God is so merciful and compassionate/patient, how do we know we are moving at the right pace of progress spiritward?

What duties must we fulfill?  How are we ‘encouraged’ to make the progress necessary for our best growth?

Take a moment to focus on the final sentence of the lesson: “Beholding the infinite tasks of truth, we pause, — wait on God. Then we push onward, until boundless thought walks enraptured, and conception unconfined is winged to reach the divine glory.”  Apply this to our daily lives and activities as you leave class for the rest of the week.

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