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[PSST: Follow Love’s spiritual road map and point it out! (RR)]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Love"

For July 30, 2017

By Tom and Amy Evans, former staff members and big fans of CedarS

PSST for Golden Text

Every summer that I can remember since I was a CIT at CedarS the lesson committee has included this verse from Isaiah 40:9 & 11 “God…shall…gently lead those that are with young.” Sunday School teachers, how do you use this passage? Older students, how do you use this passage from Isaiah?

PSST for Responsive Reading (RR)

Here is Jeremiah 31:3, the first verse of the Responsive Reading, in the New Living Translation: “Long ago the LORD said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.’” What attracts you to God? What qualities of love are presented in this week’s lesson? Jeremiah 31:13 concludes the Responsive Reading. Have you prayed to be comforted before? This Responsive Reading is not just a nice collection of Bible verses. It sets the tone for the lesson. You might refer back to the RR at the end of Sunday School and point out this spiritual road map for the lesson given to us every week.

PSST for Section 1

In citation B1 how does Zephaniah explain God’s love? Is it difficult?

Ask your class to summarize Section 1.

  • Where are the promises from God?
  • How are the people’s needs met in the desert? Look at the way doubt is answered with abundance.
  • Can you say with confidence, “The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need” (NLT ps 23:1)?

What are God’s attributes? (S2). After reading citation S2 think about the provision of manna in the wilderness (B4). Had the Israelites found food another way, would they have trusted in God as deeply? Clearly the manna was an answer from God. How do you recognize God as the only source of good in your life? People are sustained by God, “the divine Principle of being” (S3). If we think of God’s provision for Israel (B4) or Elijah (B8) as Principle is this divine supply an unexpected or miraculous event?

PSST for Section 2

1 Kings 17 presents another episode of divine provision (B8).Explain what is going on in Israel in citation B8 (a multi-year drought). How is Elijah provided for? In your own words, how does Psalm 23:2-3 summarize this section?

Is anyone excluded from praying to God (S6)? What is the requirement for anyone seeking God’s help according to citation S6? (That they come to the source of the water itself). Look at citation S8. Why would someone perceive a miracle as “disorder”? Explain how miracles or any Christian Science healing are a part of the divine order. Now explain as if you are speaking to a friend who does not attend Christian Science Sunday School. Citation S9 explores human concepts of God. Why would thinking of God as limited or possessing mortal qualities diminish or otherwise change existence? If Love, God, is doing the work (S11) and maintaining Mind’s creation (S10) what is our responsibility? How does Mrs. Eddy’s insertion of [Love] to Psalm 23:2-3 give clarity and expand the meaning of the Psalmist’s words?

PSST for Section 3

What does Love do in this section? Look at citation B12. In citation B13 Psalm 40:11 reads as though there is some doubt around God’s love: “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.” Is the author convincing himself that God is good? How do you reaffirm God’s continual care in your life? John 10:9 is where Jesus compares himself to a doorway or gate for sheep (B16). Have your class look at an ancient sheep pasture and discuss this concept further. This drawing of a shepherd sitting in the gate of a pasture might help.

Citation S14 speaks of “an age of ecclesiastical despotism” that Jesus had to deal with. Break this phrase down. Pull out that dictionary or look the words up online. What is Mrs. Eddy saying about the religious leaders of 1st century Israel? Also in citation S14, to heal like Jesus, to “reach his example and to test its unerring Science” what is required? Ask your class to read the passage and break it down for themselves. Citation S16 talks about salvation by doing something. What is involved in “doing the works which he did and taught others to do”? What does that look like? What does Mrs. Eddy mean when she quotes Paul in citation S17 about working out our own salvation? How does one do that exactly? Each section this week expands on Love’s capabilities and purpose. Talk about the functions of Love in citation S18.

PSST for Section 4

In John 6 (B20) there is a discussion between the multitude and Jesus about how to heal like him. What is Jesus’ answer when they ask him? Where does citation S25 fit into Jesus’ response about how to heal or perform works of God like him in citation B20? In citation B21 Jesus had compassion when he was in Nain. How is this important to the healing? What does the healing of the widow’s son have to do with “fear no evil” in Psalm 23?

We see citation S19 in many Christian Science churches up on the wall. What does it mean to you? Read on and consider the rest of the passage from Science and Health beyond the first sentence. In citation S20, Mrs. Eddy writes “Divine Truth, Life, and Love gave Jesus authority over sin, sickness, and death.” Sometimes it might be tempting to skip over a phrase like this quickly because we have heard the synonyms for God so many times before. Pause for a moment. What are these attributes of God? How did Jesus express them as God’s reflection? “Truth, Life, and Love gave Jesus authority-us too!! How can you use this authority? How are you seeing your brother or sister’s need and supplying it (S21)? Use citations S22 and S23 to talk about what thought processes Jesus might have been going through when he resurrected the young man in Nain (B21). How are you holding to the ideas in citation S25? Unpack that citation, there’s so much here!

PSST for Section 5

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God” (B22) is a familiar verse in Handel’s Messiah. There is so much blessing taking place in citation B23 Isaiah 65:18! It’s like the resolution to an epic movie. Can you write a 3-5 verse depiction of divine Love at work in your community? How is the expression of divine Love like singing a new song (B24)?

How expansive is God’s Love (S26)? Mrs. Eddy writes “Whatever inspires…blesses” (S27). Do we need to be concerned with the exact format of our prayer or worship? Section 5 feels like a sense of completion or resolution to a challenge. How does Psalm 23:5 fit into this genre? “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:” How does God’s bringing together of enemies fit in with expressions of love? What is enough (S29)?

Have a good Sunday School class!

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