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[PSST: Give thanks for REALITY & its wondrous works! Infuse life with spiritual meaning!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Reality”
for September 30, 2018

by Aubrey McMullin, C.S., Godfrey, Illinois
(618) 578-9407 aubrey.mcmullin3@gmail.com

As I’m sitting here thinking about this week’s lesson on Reality that many of you are reading and studying this week, I can’t help but share how GRATEFUL I was for all of the FACTS about Reality that we are blessed with in this amazing lesson!

PSST Golden Text: What does it mean to have the kingdom of heaven “at hand”? What does it mean to have the kingdom of God within? When knowledge is at hand, ignorance disappears; as truth makes its appearance, the lie nears its vanishing-point; with the coming of the morning light we feel sure that we shall be in darkness no longer; as good begins to come into our thought, evil, its opposite, takes its departure. If the kingdom of heaven, "the reign of Spirit" (Science and Health, p. 587), is at hand, it follows in like manner that "the end of all (material) things is at hand," as Peter writes in his first epistle. If we understand these FACTS about the kingdom of heaven, even in a small degree, are we not freed from the trials and tribulations of mortal existence and free to enter into the “secret place of the most high”?

PSST Responsive Reading: What are we giving thanks for? What are the “wondrous works” that we are being asked to give thanks for here? When our days become dulled by repetition or routine, sometimes it seems like the innocent and childlike observation of God’s goodness is blocked. How can we recognize and celebrate God as the source of every good quality that infuses daily living with spiritual meaning? How are these qualities “more than can be numbered?” Are we seeking and magnifying these qualities?

This entire Responsive Reading speaks about gratitude and spiritual satisfaction. How does God satisfy “the desire of every living thing?” How are we satisfied? How are we expressing gratitude for all of His works? Are we calling upon God for our satisfaction? For our happiness? For everything to be grateful for? What hymns do we know that talk about gratitude and spiritual satisfaction and tender mercies?

PSST Section 1: What is the fact of this section? How are we allowing/accepting only facts? This is a time to ask ourselves how much of an impression God has made on our thought. Can a physical condition be as big as God? Can a stubborn human idea be as unyielding in error as the divine Mind is unyielding in its allness and goodness? Then it is wonderful to awaken to the fact that even if mortal mind seems able to conjure up an illusion of sin or of sickness, the divine Mind through its true idea, the Christ, is able to destroy the illusion. (B1, 1 Chronicles 29:11; SH3; SH4; SH5)

How immediate is God’s work? How immediate is Truth? (B3, Psalm 33:9) God didn’t speak and speak and speak and speak. His word was immediate. How do we know that His laws are absolute and reliable? How do we know that results are there? How do we trust that there is no other option but healing, that healing is inevitable? How do we know that healing is the FACT of reality? How do we know that it is already established?

What has God prepared for us? What are we waiting for? What are we anticipating? Are we anticipating healing? Are we trusting its inevitability and establishment? (SH4) What does it mean that “things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (B6, Hebrews 11:3)?

PSST Section 2: How precious are God’s thoughts? What does it mean that they are “more in number than the sand” (B8, Psalm 139:18)? This Psalm is maybe the shortest, most perfect definition of spiritual healing to me. To me, it is the heart of prayer. Healing is about waking from the dream, waking up to who we really are as the children of God, His idea. God’s thoughts are more in number than sand and yet, when we awake, we are with Him. What does this verse mean to you? How does it stand out to you?

Forced to flee from his homeland of Beer-sheba as punishment for his deceit, Jacob (whose name means he cheats, displaces) goes to sleep on a barren hilltop, with stones for his “pillows.” Yet in this harsh and solitary setting, he dreams of a ladder extending from earth to heaven, with “the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” Most incredible of all, at this very moment when he feels exiled forever, Jacob hears God’s voice tenderly promising, “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land.” With this, Jacob awakens and exclaims, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not” (B9, Genesis 28:10-13, 15, 16).

The passages from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in this section explain the transformation that takes place within Jacob as a result of the manifestation of God he experiences in his dream: “The footsteps of thought, rising above material standpoints, are slow, and portend a long night to the traveler; but the angels of His presence—the spiritual intuitions that tell us when ‘the night is far spent, the day is at hand’—are our guardians in the gloom” (SH9). When have your thoughts risen above material standpoints? When have you felt the angels of His presence? How do these spiritual intuitions bring us the FACTS about reality? Where does reality come from? What are the realities of divine Science? SH7, SH8

PSST Section 3: What is good? When does God answer us? Does He pick and choose when He will answer our calls (B12)? Do we truly believe that with God all things are possible and that we can’t withhold any thought from Him (B13, Job 40:10)? What illusions are we breaking about reality? (SH12)

"Then Job answered the Lord, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. … I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee" (B14, Job 42:1, 2, 5). What a wonderful awakening to real selfhood and to the understanding of God Job's words reveal! What do we know about our real selfhood? In the end, when awakened to the concept of the spiritual and real, Job must have glimpsed that everything relating to man, including his environment and his substance, is spiritual and eternal, and that man possesses an unlimited supply of all good because of his relation to God. This realization blessed Job with a family and greater riches than he had previously possessed.

What can we learn about the law of God from Job’s experience? What FACTS do we know about this law of God? Is it ever-operating to help and protect us, to make the divinely real more clear to us?

Which “reality” are we accepting? “…which of these two theories concerning man are you ready to accept? One is the mortal testimony, changing, dying, unreal. The other is the eternal and real evidence, bearing Truth’s signet, its lap piled high with immortal fruits” (SH12).
What is perfection (SH14)?

PSST Section 4: Are we divided against ourselves in thought about reality? (B16, Matthew 12:25; B17, Luke 17:21) When in Jesus' time the Pharisees saw him healing a dumb person they said, "This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils." We know his reply, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?" His reply indicated that every attempt of the human or carnal mind to cast out the errors of its own creating would be useless and would end in defeat and disaster. He further illustrated this point by stating that, if the evils were cast out by that method, and the individual's mind were left empty, then the evils would return, and the last state of that man would be worse than the first. What does this mean to you? Can we really hold in thought both the kingdom of God and a belief in evil’s reality or a belief that evil can be created?

When we come into a true understanding of Christian Science, then the unreality of evil appears, and the belief in it and fear of it is Scientifically destroyed. This point must be clear to everyone who would be free from the great delusion that holds mankind in bondage.

What did Jesus mean when he said that “the kingdom of God is within us?” What is the kingdom of God? What are some FACTS that we know about the kingdom of heaven? (SH16) What dream are we breaking through (Hymn 202)? What do we need to mentally insist as FACT in order to break through this dream of mortality (SH19)? What are we allowing to reign within us? Are we allowing the kingdom of heaven to reign within us, or the claims of material existence (SH21)?

PSST Section 5: Jesus, after having taught the multitude from the ship belonging to Simon, turned to him and said, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught" (B21, Luke 5:4). To a fisherman, such a command in the daytime must have sounded strange, and Simon answered, "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing" (B21). Then quickly he added, "Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net."

Jesus’ command was obeyed, and the result was so great that the net broke, and help had to be received from another ship in order to handle the multitude of fish that had been caught. What are we letting down our nets for? What depths are we reaching and what FACTS are we collecting (B18, Romans 11:33) from these depths? What qualities are in the shallows of mortal belief?

Think about a swimming pool, when are we being directed not to dive in? When are we being invited to dive in? What would be in the deep-end of your pool of thought, waiting and encouraging you to dive in (SH23)? If the “Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (B19, 1 Corinthians 2:10), what are we searching for? What are the deep things of God? What are we being asked to “launch out into the deep” for (B21, Luke 5:4)? What is the outward sense of things that we are being directed in this section to look past (SH22)? In this section we read about “the fading forms of matter.” Do we fade them, or are they constantly fading away because of their actual unreality? Where is our gaze resting (SH24, SH25)?

Sometimes fear combined with a seeming lack of trust prevents us from obeying and we feel more like hugging the shore than launching into the deep. Maybe we’ve been working for what feels like a long time with no seeming success. Are we ready to obey the Christ, who knows that asserted material laws and conditions have no power whatsoever? Are we exercising our God-given dominion and launching deep in to the “deep things of God?”

PSST Section 6: To the prophet Ezekiel came the message, "The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision" (B22, Ezekiel 12:28). The captivity of the Israelites in a foreign land had worn away their trust in good so much that they had become accustomed to saying, "The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth." God's message came to wake them up, and to inspire them with the absolute certainty that all true vision must bring its result, and that this effect is not appointed for some far-distant date, but is at hand. What is our vision?

Christian Scientists often find that a clearer vision comes to them through new light being cast on familiar words from the Bible or from Science and Health or Mary Baker Eddy’s other writings and such experiences prove to be steppingstones along their way. How is your vision becoming clearer? What light is being cast on something familiar for you? You could make this a fun exercise and have your students choose something inspirational that they are familiar with and have them find something new about it. (For example, the Scientific Statement of Being is something that is said every Sunday, but how often do we really think about what it is telling us about US?)

What is the importance of NOW (SH28) mentioned in the Science and Health in this section? What are we doing with our present? How are we thinking about it? What do we KNOW (what are some FACTS) about now?

What is reality (SH32)? Mary Baker Eddy (MBE) says, "Reality is spiritual, harmonious, immutable, immortal, divine, eternal." From the material viewpoint, we may think of ourselves as the opposite of reality. Our lives may seem to be filled with materiality, inharmony, mortality, and limitation. But when we stop to think scientifically, we can see that the spiritual qualities mentioned by MBE can be found reflected, at least in some measure, in our own character. They constitute elements of real selfhood. As we grow in spiritual understanding, these qualities become more and more pronounced in our lives. Our real selfhood becomes more apparent.

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