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[PSST: Help ALL to stop wallowing in guilt and feel dry-cleaned from inside-out!(2)]

Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Sacrament”

January 14, 2018

prepared by John Biggs, CS of Maryland Heights, MO
(541.418.1176 / JohnBiggsCS@gmail.com)

Devotion, consistency, integrity, are all qualities that are implied with sacrament. What are some other qualities that would be hallmarks of an intentional sacrament? In the Christian Science church, we don't come forward for communion; how do Christian Scientists express and live their sense of communion with God and express their sacrament? If a Christian Scientist is visiting another church, is it wrong to go forward during that communion time? How do you think through your practices and habits, and discern what is the most helpful way to express your love for God?

PSST Golden Text and Responsive Reading: If salvation 'belongs' to God, would He ever 'let go of' salvation and say that our salvation was now going to be determined by something else? Does God have co-ownership of salvation, with other influences in your life (like what country you live in, what religion you follow, how much money you were born into…)? Is anyone deprived of that salvation?

Consider Mrs. Eddy's article 'The Way' starting on page 355 of Miscellaneous Writings. She has much to say about self-knowledge and its importance. What role does self-knowledge play in our salvation? What illustrations or models are provided by the Responsive Reading, to help you get a clearer sense of self-knowledge? Are guilt and shame required parts of that self-knowledge? How do we move forward into true repentance, instead of just wallowing in guilt? Does God keep us guilty?

PSST Section 1: Citation B1 deserves some careful thought. Is the author of 2 Timothy saying that every single word of the Bible is directly from God (or written by God)? How do we thoughtfully, carefully, prayerfully read and study the Bible so we know we are not just cherry-picking the 'nice parts' and leaving out the tough stuff? Are we justified in ignoring some passages or sections of the Bible? What is the relation of citation B1 to the rest of these citations? Will God only show us the promise illustrated in citation B5, if we believe every single word of the Bible is direct from God—or is that taking literalism too far?

Citation S1 is so helpful in providing us with this definition of salvation. Keep this in mind as you consider these topics and questions throughout.

Is the view of salvation as presented by Christian Science different from the definition of salvation given by other faiths? Is the Christianly scientific view of salvation exclusive or inclusive?

PSST Section 2: Do you consider yourself to be baptized? Have you ever explained baptism as Christian Scientists consider it? What is the importance of baptism? Would having a specific water-ritual help your sense of baptism? What is the relation of baptism to sacrament? Why would baptism help you feel more devoted to God? How does a clearer sense of baptism help you feel the holiness of God?

PSST Section 3: Can you put citation B10 in your own words? What was distinct about this experience, compared to other accounts of healing in the Gospels? Why was Jesus so impressed with the centurion? Why would Jesus feel that healing the servant of a Roman – the occupying force governing Israel, sometimes brutally – was an appropriate thing to do? Why didn't Jesus try to teach the centurion anything before healing his servant? – And isn't the centurion excluded from salvation because he didn't know about God as Jesus taught? Hmmm … does God know who the Christian Scientists are? Does God know who the Christians are? Are Christian Scientists more deserving of healing than those of another faith? Again, consider: is salvation exclusive or inclusive?

PSST Section 4: Is there anything that particularly stands out to you about the familiar story recounted in citation B14? What moves you, bothers you, doesn't seem important at all? What passages in Science and Health (both from citations in the Lesson, and elsewhere if you can find them) help explain more about the last supper, the symbolism, the communion? Do you ever consider yourself partaking in that communion? What would your day be like if you consciously and intentionally engaged in communion daily?

PSST Section 5: What is the importance of remembering the crucifixion? The 5th Tenet (included in citation S21) certainly has acknowledgment of the crucifixion as important. Would it be better to just focus on the resurrection and leave the crucifixion out, as we study our Bibles? Do we really need this 5th section of this Lesson at all? Is the crucifixion just a downer, or is there something valuable which can uplift and inform our practice of Christian Science? How can we really be expected to find rejoicing, in the midst of a challenging experience? How can we find our joy and peace when we are being faced with evil so severely? What does this section bring to our understanding about overcoming adversity?

PSST Section 6: Is there anything from citation B17 that especially stands out to you? What could be the significance of a meal already being prepared for the disciples? Was it important for them to throw in the nets or could they have just gone to shore?

If God already loves you fully, what is the importance of loving God? If salvation is already freely given, what is the point of spending time being consecrated to God? Is our relation with God a give and take, or is it something deeper than that?

Thank you for your time in prayerfully preparing for your Sunday School class!

[Warren’s PS: I love the helpful instruction (below) from Mary Baker Eddy about how Christian Scientists can best pray in Sacrament Sunday Communion Services. It dovetails with CedarS 2018 theme to “LIVE LOVE INFINITELY” (as highlighted and spelled out in 1 Corinthians 13 and Hymn 30):
“Praying in Communion Services by Mary Baker Eddy
Christian Science Journal (CSJ) August 1889

"The sacrament shall be observed … by a short interval of solemn and silent self-examination by each member, as to his or her fitness to be called a follower of Christ, Truth; as to his real state of love toward man, and fellowship and communion with Christ; as to whether he is gaining in the understanding and demonstration of Truth and Love, coming out from the world and being separated from error; growing less selfish, more charitable and spiritual, yea, walking worthy his high calling.

“One should turn into his consciousness with renewed carefulness the ever-searching light of Truth. Shall it not be a specific time for purging from one's thought all that is unworthy and untrue?”]

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