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[PSST: In dry-cleaning love, wash away all false labels as fables! (1)]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Sacrament”
for July 14, 2019

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

PSST GOLDEN TEXT
John, the beloved disciple, who understood Jesus' requirement that we love even as Jesus loved, writes, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18). Through the understanding and demonstration of the divine Principle, Love, all things are possible.

The vital element in healing is love! The degree of our Christly affection and compassion enables us to see others as they really are – as God sees them. Without this genuine love and affection, our eyes are blind to spiritual reality, however much of the letter of Science we may know. To heal we must love humanity with Christly enthusiasm, embracing our fellow man and woman "in Life and its demonstration."

Through Love demonstrated "in deed and in truth" we come to know oneness with the Father-Mother, conscious Life itself. And nothing less is eternal heaven.

No one claims that this is easy. It takes great humility to give unselfed love – to set aside animosity, fear, hurt feelings, and wounded pride. Isn't this manifestation of divine Love the incredible love of Christ? Isn't it the forgiving love that Jesus expressed even to his crucifiers? Isn't it the sublime love that Jesus demonstrated in Gethsemane, when "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood" (Luke 22:44) as he struggled to do God's will and remain love? The textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, gives the spiritual interpretation of "Gethsemane" as "patient woe; the human yielding to the divine; love meeting no response, but still remaining love” (SH p. 586:23).

To love one who has hurt us, to show affection to one who may throw unkindness back in our face or betray us may indeed be a Gethsemane. Our experience with friend or spouse, children or church members, may well include "patient woe." But in the crucible of "love … remaining love," the human yields to the divine, transforming our nature and bringing spiritual progress beyond human comprehension. Unselfed love and affection is Christ's way, and it must be ours. Can we follow him and drink from his cup?

PSST RESPONSIVE READING— [W: In dry-cleaning love, wash away all false labels as fables!]
Some of the most well-known Biblical accounts of humility include foot washing! Jesus washing his disciples’ feet was followed by his comment, "Ye should do as I have done to you" (John 13:15). This has been referred to as an "acted parable," the importance of which lies in its depiction of the selfless love that is demanded in following the Christ.

In the Bible, foot washing illustrates the expression of several levels of love. A servant washing the feet of a master illustrates one level. A master washing the feet of a servant is a higher level. But Jesus' requirement that "ye also ought to wash one another's feet" (John 13:14) takes this act to the highest level!

Though it is not practiced literally by Christian Scientists, Mary Baker Eddy recognized the spiritual significance of foot washing. She opened the chapter in Science and Health titled "Christian Science Practice" by recounting the story of the woman who washed Jesus' feet—emphasizing the importance of "meekness" and "genuine repentance" in the practice of spiritual healing (SH p. 364).

Do you think Jesus' command "Ye ought to wash one another's feet" (RR) is figurative or literal? Does this command continue to set a standard for how we can visibly express love to our neighbors – in Christian humility and service to one another?

PSST SECTION 1 – Live true worship and lay aside false worship! Approach the supreme Good! Isn’t it encouraging to know that every effort on our part to put into practice our understanding of Truth and Love in the overcoming of error has a wonderful influence upon our spiritual unfoldment? Even seeming failure only compels us to apply the truth more persistently, and to see that our methods are not careless but truly scientific! Do we gain strength in the assurance that God reigns? In the prophecy of Micah, God calls upon the mountains to prove His faithfulness to His people in every emergency, and in the beautiful Hebrew metaphor the mountains answer for Him: "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God" (B2).

Christian Science reveals that every human problem is the result of false worship, so what is false worship then? Is it the belief that Spirit, God, is not infinite, omnipresent, and omnipotent? Obedience to good brings good into our experience. The way to serve or worship God spiritually, through "obedience unto righteousness," is fully revealed in Christian Science. Under the marginal heading "The true worship," in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes (SH1): "We worship spiritually, only as we cease to worship materially. Spiritual devoutness is the soul of Christianity. Worshipping through the medium of matter is paganism. Judaic and other rituals are but types and shadows of true worship."

Through our study of the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy we learn how to worship God rightly by expressing our divine nature. By actually living the divine qualities we radiate the power of God, infinite good. And this power destroys every phase of evil, including sin, disease, and death. So, what is true worship? True worship includes more than regular church attendance; it is a divinely natural activity that can be practiced everywhere at all times!

PSST SECTION 2 – Understand true sacramental acts today
Partaking in God's presence is the true sacramental act, and takes place in the heart! In this section we find Matthew's account of the Last Supper, where Jesus and the disciples are keeping a tradition of their time and culture by celebrating the Passover – the commemoration of the children of Israel's Exodus out of bondage in Egypt.

In this passage (B8), Matthew highlights two items toward the end of the meal – the bread Jesus gave them, and the cup: "Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it" (B8).

The related passage in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures says that the importance of Jesus' actions was the spiritual significance behind them (SH8). There must have been something more to what Jesus did, because they had just eaten a meal, right? So, having more food and drink doesn't make sense: "The true sense is spiritually lost, if the sacrament is confined to the use of bread and wine" (SH8). What is the true sense of the bread and wine? Can God's presence be limited to physical objects? Is God’s presence spiritual or material?

This week's Lesson clearly shows the importance of understanding true sacramental practice as sharing in the presence of the Divine. Because, as John says, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (John 6:63). What do you see as the true sacramental practice? What did John mean here when saying that the spirit quickeneth? What does it mean that the flesh profits nothing? How does this relate to Sacrament? What promise is being fulfilled?

PSST SECTION 3 – Discover a present grace and Gethsemane
What does it mean to grow in grace? How does Gethsemane relate to growing in grace? How do we draw nigh to God, cleanse our hands, and purify our hearts? What is the importance here in doing these things?

There are many instances throughout the Bible in which cleansing, washing, or purifying – symbolizing mental purification – is shown as a necessary procedure in the accomplishment of healings of various kinds. When Naaman, the captain of the host of the king of Syria, sought healing, we are told that Elisha sent a messenger to him saying, "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." When Jesus healed the man who had been born blind, he commanded him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam." And, again, when a leper followed him and besought him for healing, Jesus' tender and compassionate response was, "I will; be thou clean." How often do we expect to be called to do some great thing in order to realize a much-desired healing, when simply purifying thought, casting out unreal beliefs, is the essential thing? Do we also find that obedience to both the spirit and the letter of the commands can result in instantaneous healings? How does this purifying of thought and casting out of unreal beliefs relate to baptism? (B16 & SH13)

"The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through floodtides of Love. Christian perfection is won on no other basis." How similar this is to our own experiences as we begin the process of cleansing and purifying thought through the daily study of the teachings of Christian Science and their application in our individual lives? Mortal mind which claims to be the only mind, would have our thoughts be clouded and covered with the darkest beliefs of mortality. How is thought liberated? And how can we gain an entirely new sense of security, confidence, and love in the place of fears, doubts, and distrusts? Are we beginning to recognize and to claim our divine inheritance as children of God? How do we allow old things to pass away and “all things to become new” (SH17)?

On page 26 (SH18) of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, its author, writes, "While we adore Jesus, and the heart overflows with gratitude for what he did for mortals, – in treading alone his loving pathway up to the throne of glory, in speechless agony exploring the way for us, – yet Jesus spares us not one individual experience, if we follow his commands faithfully; and all have the cup of sorrowful effort to drink in proportion to their demonstration of his love, till all are redeemed through divine Love." What is this "cup of sorrowful effort" which Christ Jesus himself asked might pass from him? Is it the experience which every student of Christian Science, and in fact all, must have in facing and proving the powerlessness and unreality of evil? Can someone else face and prove this for us?

Someone may ask, "why does Mary Baker Eddy say 'the cup of sorrowful effort'?
Does it have to be sorrowful?" No, it does not need to be and should not. The sorrow appears only because of the claim of personal sense or material resistance in each individual human consciousness. The effort is sorrowful in proportion to the claim to reality that evil makes. The process of proving may seem to human sense sorrowful, but the end is joyful.

In Miscellaneous Writings (p. 114) Mary Baker Eddy says, "Rest assured that God in His wisdom will test all mankind on all questions; and then, if found faithful, He will deliver us from temptation and show us the powerlessness of evil, – even its utter nothingness." Is this test which we are all called upon to face the cup which all Christian Scientists, and in fact everyone, must drink sooner or later? Does the spiritual inspiration of Truth completely take away its sorrowful aspects?
As understood in Christian Science, drinking the cup means spiritual devotion; it means constant alertness to duty (Manual of The Mother Church by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 42); it means consecration to good; it means purification expressed in healing; it means utilizing one's scientific knowledge of the allness of good to destroy the supposititious lie of duality or many minds.

PSST SECTION 4 – Prove progress is the Law of God by casting our nets on the right side
The narrative in the twenty first chapter of St. John's gospel (B19) takes us back to the scene and circumstances of the early ministry of Jesus. The place of his appearing on this occasion is invested with peculiar sacredness, and the words which he spoke are embalmed with the most tender and hallowed associations in the hearts of Christian Scientists. It would seem that this chapter may have been written with the purpose of telling what Jesus said to Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. However, that may be, one part of the story shows us that Jesus, after his resurrection and victory over the grave, lost none of his interest in the common things of human experience. What were the first words he uttered when he appeared on the shore were? "Children, have ye any meat?" But these disciples had spent the long dark night vainly at sea and had caught nothing. When they told this to Jesus, he directed them to cast their net "on the right side," and when they did so they at once met with success.

Have there been other honest seekers after truth, who through all the ages have spent their years in a long dark night of fruitless desire, because they were casting their nets on the wrong side? The psalmist says, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (B17). This is the morning of the Christ appearing on the everlasting shore of all time, the dawn of spiritual understanding, the promised Comforter, Christian Science, saying to the weary and heavy laden: Lift up your heads from your heavy tasks and hear the voice of the Christ, Truth, coming clear and calm across the dark waters of superstitious belief! "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find." What is the promise being fulfilled here?

The belief that we can accomplish anything separate and apart from God is an assumption that would, if true, dishonor Deity and deny the relationship of God and man. Humanly speaking, Jesus said, "I can of mine own self do nothing." Spiritually speaking, Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me." How does Christian Science demonstrate a law that identifies a perfect state of order and unity between God and His creation? How does this law interpret the conscious mental volition of God's man, made in His image and likeness, as emanating from the divine Mind, or Principle, through which man is endowed with power to act? Christ Jesus demonstrated the law of supply and its availability on every occasion, and taught his disciples that by turning away from materiality, in loving subjection to the divine will, they would be given the ability to solve every problem in human experience.

On page 34 of Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, we are told that “discerning Christ, Truth, anew on the shore of time, they (the disciples) were enabled to rise somewhat from mortal sensuousness, or the burial of mind in matter, into newness of life as Spirit” (SH19). Learning the lesson of man's unity with the divine source of his being, can we come to see that our unity consists in mentally reflecting God's thought, and through a spiritualized mental process we are enabled to eliminate everything that does not come from God? What are we enabled to do when we discern Christ, Truth?

This Bible story tells us that when the disciples were obedient to the word of the Master, they were not able to draw the net "for the multitude of fishes," and this ability to understand and obey Truth is ours today, if we are ready to recognize and use it.

PSST SECTION 5 – Walking in the newness of life
Christian Science not only emphasizes remembrance of Christ Jesus, the beloved Way-shower to men, but also requires the evidence of spiritual healing as a proof that God and His Christ are understood as ever present.

By the power of divine Science, the understanding of perfect God and His perfect universe, Jesus lifted the thought of his disciples above the material concept of existence to that spiritual sense which enabled them to repeat their Master's wonderful deeds in humility (SH23). At his ascension, Jesus’ human body disappeared, and his spiritual individuality, the Christ-embodiment, appeared as his real spiritual self. This teaching is not a denial of Christ, but rather a confirmation of the eternal or real substance of Christ. Jesus was the highest human concept of the Christ, and when the human element disappeared from mortal sight his real spiritual entity, the Christ-man in the image and likeness of God, dawned upon the consciousness of his followers; and as Mary Baker Eddy teaches (SH24), "it is the living Christ, the practical Truth, which makes Jesus 'the resurrection and the life' to all who follow him in deed."

Christ Jesus, said, "The Son can do nothing of himself." The great Apostle Peter likewise knew how to treasure this noble quality, for in his first epistle he earnestly admonished, "Be clothed with humility" (B21).

It is recorded on page 335 of Mary Baker Eddy's book Miscellaneous Writings that someone asked the author, "Would you have me get out of a burning house, or stay in it?" Mary Baker Eddy answered, "I would have you already out, and know that you are out." What treasures of wisdom lie in that remarkable reply? How can we be aware of true selfhood as unreachable by flames, disease, or any other affliction? How does this comprehension of man's dwelling place as heaven, or harmony, entirely beyond the reach of mortal discord, and his true birthright as the son of God? How can we awake to reality, no matter how aggressive and persistent the mortal picture may appear?

"The time for the reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time; and whosoever layeth his earthly all on the altar of divine Science, drinketh of Christ's cup now, and is endued with the spirit and power of Christian healing," The way of spiritual understanding that heals through divine Science is neither one of gloom nor one of martyrdom, but one of joyous unfoldment of the glory that awaits all who are willing to renounce as unreal the counterfeit creation and acclaim as reality God and His reflection, man and the universe!

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