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[PSST: “It MATTERS not”, that matter’s NOT what it claims to be, do, give…]

Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on;
"Matter"  for Sunday, 3-24-13
By Steve Henn, C.S. St. Louis, Missouri
[Steve's been a CedarS Program Director & teaches English at The Principia School.]

PSST – Golden Text – What are God’s precepts (laws) and what are the ‘false way[s]’ that they protect us from?   Is it okay to ‘hate’ a false way?  Is it good to hate in this situation?  What does hatred of false ways mean for us – what is required in order to feel this way?


PSST – Responsive Reading – What is the result of something real?  How do you know if God or matter is guiding you?* (Encourage your students to think about what the ‘fruits’ are that indicate God or matter as the source – as declared by Jesus in Matt 7:16; consider the ultimate fruits indicated in the Beatitudes: removal of self, abundance of good, great purpose, humility, a focus on generosity).
*[It matters not what be thy lot, so Love doth guide…” Hymn 160]


Why would we want correction from God’s judgment? 
What is required of us to benefit from God’s correction, or any correction? 

What is “of his Spirit” that he “hath given us”?


PSST – Section 1
What does “consider it in thine heart” mean?  What is expected of us in this citation? 

What is the impact on our sense of reality if there truly is “none else” besides God? 
How would we live if we really understood this?  What might we do differently?


If Spirit is all and is everywhere, what and where is matter? (S1)  Look a little further into this section for Mrs. Eddy’s answer – matter is an error of statement, an error in premise that results in errors in conclusion.  How is matter an error of statement?  If matter is an error, what is the truth?  You could work with your students on this by creating two columns, one for the error of statement, and then the truth that replaces it (e.g. – error – matter, limitation, dualism [good & evil]; Truth – Spirit, unlimited, only good).


What is matter? Do we know for sure, or just assume what Mrs. Eddy means by her use of the word ‘matter’?  Look closely in this section to see what her definition is.  How do your students respond to the demand that we forsake all matter for Spirit?


What in our experience seems to be opposite to Spirit, and how do we see the unreality of it? 
How do we reconcile thought to the declaration that Spirit is all?


PSST – Section 2
What do your students think the creature is/represents in Romans 8 (B7)?


What is the man of dust?  What is man made of, really?  How do we know?  What thought is perpetuated by the phrase “dust to dust”?  Look at its origin in Gen 3:19.  How do Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy reject/reverse this curse on man?

                The first half of this curse is man’s origin in dust. Firmly establish through a close study of this section what man’s true origin is, and how that applies directly to your students.


Consider also this concept from a more holistic perspective, taking into consideration more than just your own person or personal experience.  What does it mean to say that all mankind’s true origin is Spirit, Mind?  What happens when you include your math teacher, your parents, your friend, your teammates on the soccer field, your opponents on the soccer field or track this spring, your significant other? EVERYONE!!!?!


PSST – Section 3
Begin by getting the story of Sampson straight – do you/your students understand this story and its various symbols?  It might be helpful to read beyond the lesson here to understand what Sampson’s final outcome is.  Consider looking into an interpreter’s Bible or a study Bible before Sunday to better understand what is going on.


Where do your students seek for their own strength? What is strength? 
Remember that Jesus declared the meek will inherit the earth.


How does your view of strength apply to your students?  Where can they increase in strength – in their studies, in athletics, in relationships; what are the different types of strength that we seek in our lives on a daily basis?


In athletics, your students are asked to obtain and express increasing physical strength. How can they, as Christian Scientists, translate the actions of ‘physical training’ into metaphysical growth?


In citations S9 & S10 there are some great questions readymade for your class to discuss.


Discuss the problems revealed in citation S13 and how citation S14 addresses them.


PSST – Section 4
What does the Psalmist ask for in Ps.27 (B15)?  And what does he rely on in Ps.23 (B16)?  These images are familiar to the Psalmist and his contemporaries, and therefore held important meanings to them; but these may be foreign images to a more modern audience.  Work with your students to discuss what these images truly represent, and then explore what modern images you may put in this section that would make the message clearer and more relevant to a modern audience.


Again, Mrs. Eddy asks valuable questions in citation S15 – questions you can discuss with your students.  What is important about getting a scientific answer to these questions?


Use citation S16 to revisit the question, What is matter?


Mrs. Eddy paints a dire picture of life based on matter.  How do your students react to this picture?  On what basis can she make these claims?  Consider what else you’ve read in this week’s lesson and in the teachings of Jesus as you work through this question.


PSST – Section 5
Refer to section three, the conversation of where strength comes from and what different types of strength there are.  Is not mental strength something we value?   And do we not ‘assess’ the mental strength of our teenagers on an almost daily basis – in class, on the athletic field, in performances, and so on?   How can the wisdom spoken of in this section, particularly in citations B18 & B19, help your students in those areas?


How can/does the belief in matter that Mrs. Eddy outlines in citation S21 lead to all suffering?


Who, that your students know, has caught clearly a glimpse of God?  Think of people in their own lives and examples from history and the Bible. How did those people disperse matter’s mists or thin error’s clouds so that they could see God?


What is the true idea (S21) and how does it play a role in our daily lives?


Why is intelligent matter an impossibility?   How do we see this demonstrated in Bible times and again? Think of Moses, Joseph & more (Daniel, Jonah…)


Why is Mrs. Eddy so emphatic that it is all or nothing? Why can’t matter and Mind coexist?  What did Jesus have to say about this?  What do the experiences of Biblical characters reveal (Shadrach and his buddies, for instance)?


PSST – Section 6
What is the importance of the leper, the one leper, who returns to give thanks? 
What was his nationality? 


What ‘balm’ does Jesus use in healing the lepers?


What does Mrs. Eddy mean when she says Jesus’ form of Christianity was no form or system of religion or worship?  Why then is it important for us to join together as a church?


Why does Mrs. Eddy say that matter has no power or ability to heal – and that Mind has all power? What authority does she have to say this?  What Biblical proof is there of this?  How can we apply this concept in our daily lives?


Read and consider carefully the meaning of citation S28.  There is much power in this statement; it should not be taken lightly or glossed over.


PSST – Section 7
Add citations B23 & B24 to your conversation of ‘dust to dust’ – what is man’s true origin and destiny?


Encourage your students to take this blessing with them throughout their entire days – looking at everything around them in this light; considering every experience as based on this foundation. 
How can they best approach life with this foundation? 
How can they best approach all of humanity around them with this as the basis of their understanding? 


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