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[PSST: Learn to be at-one with God to free mankind from all impositions.]

Possible Sunday School Topics (PSSTs) for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:

“Doctrine of Atonement”

for April 12-18, 2021

prepared by Merrill Boudreaux, C.S. • 314-308-1059

P.S.S.T. Golden Text (GT) John 1:36: “…Behold the Lamb of God!”

and P.S.S.T. Responsive Reading (RR) –

The idea of atonement has long been a theological conversation surrounding the need for mankind to appease God because of the original sin of Adam and Eve in disobeying God.

How long must such appeasement last, and what kind of loving God would condemn His creation for eternity?

In the Golden Text, Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God. What was the sacrificial role of lambs in the Hebrew Testament? Must Jesus then be considered as one who offers himself as a sacrifice on behalf of mankind to appease God because of the original sin? Some of these were the theological questions active in religious thought in Mary Baker Eddy’s day. To some degree they are still questions in many Christian churches today.

With the discovery of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy turns that word “atonement” into “at-one-ment” and sheds light on and brings answers to this old theological question. Let us look to this Lesson to learn about our at-one-ment, or being at-one with God, which frees us from the old belief of appeasement.

P.S.S.T. Section 1 – If there is an offering that we may bring before God, it may be summarized in citation B1 (Micah 6:8). This statement also aligns with Jesus’ command to us all, as found in John 13:34: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

Rather than God despising mankind and requiring appeasement, Jesus pointed the way for mankind to obey God’s desire, yea command, of how to live with one another in permanent peace. How does Mary Baker Eddy define “Lamb of God” in citation S1 (Science & Health 590:9)? What are key words in that definition of how we are at-one with each other as desired by our Creator? Self-immolation, innocence, purity, sacrifice.

Read together citation S2 (SH 26:21-25,28-30) of what Jesus’ teachings further defined for our practice of at-one-ment. See the explanation of atonement as unity with God, as stated in citation S3 (SH 18:1-9).

P.S.S.T. Section 2 – How did Jesus refer to his followers in citation B7 (John 10:24,25,27-30)? (As sheep.) By extension, Jesus is known as the good shepherd – caring for those sheep. Who were some of his followers listed in citation B6 (Luke 8:1-3), whose names we seldom hear about in the rest of the scriptures? Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna. Mary Baker Eddy also included women as coexistent with God in citation S8 (SH 516:21). What is the implication of that statement – that no one is left out, all are included as one with God. Read more about man and woman’s unity with God from Science & Health 340:23. This is a positively clear statement of the difference or result of at-one-ment versus atonement.

P.S.S.T. Section 3 – What proof is offered in the scripture story in citation B9 (Matthew 12:10-15) of God’s love and law of the relationship between God and man?

Read together citation S10 (SH 52:19). What does it tell us of an all-inclusive God, good?

P.S.S.T. Section 4 – See Mary Baker Eddy’s clear statement of atonement and at-one-ment in citation S16 (SH 23:5). Now on what side do you align yourself? What are key benefits of at-one-ment as stated in this citation? “…sin and suffering will fall at the feet of everlasting Love.”

P.S.S.T. Section 5 – There are commands throughout this section. Ask students to seek them out. (These are commandments for successfully living at-one with God and with each other.)

  • Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us (cit. B16)
  • Let us run with patience the race that is set before us (cit. B16, Heb. 12:1)
  • Lay down all for Truth, or Christ, in our warfare against error, is a rule in Christian Science (cit. S18, 568:30-32)
  • With honest hearts… work & watch for wisdom, truth, & Love (c. S19, 15:18)
  • Overcome error in your daily walk and conversation (cit. S20, 21:1-5)
  • Fight a good fight… keep the faith… you are a better man (cit. S20, 21:1-5)
  • Finish your course with joy (cit. S20, 21:9)

P.S.S.T. Section 6 – You are innocent. You are faithful. You have touched the hem of Christ’s robe. You have the victory over sin. You have turned atonement into at-one-ment.

Read together Hymn 543 from the Christian Science Hymnal (words here):

Hymn 543 (& 221)

O Jesus, our dear Master,
Your works, now understood,
Reveal their full effulgence
Through love and brotherhood.
Today Christ's precious Science
Your healing power makes plain:
With joy may all obey you
And cast out sin and pain.

The Christ, eternal manhood,
As God's own Son beloved,
A tender ever-presence
Within each heart is proved.
O God, our Father-Mother,
Your name we see expressed
By man, who in Your Science
Is perfect, holy, blessed.

O Science, God-sent message
To tired humanity,
You are Love's revelation
Of Truth that makes us free.
Your kingdom, God, within us
Shows forth Love's sweet control.
God's idea, man, rejoices;
We know the reign of Soul.

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