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[PSST: Perceive God and man as inseparable. Adjust to the fact that flesh is illusion. Prove your God-given perfection right now! Don’t let human differences or scarcity mentality mask true brotherhood. Drop the past! Find forgiveness in Christ that discerns and dismisses lies! ]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson

for Sunday, May 14, 2017 on

“Mortals and Immortals”

by Aubrey McMullin, C.S., Godfrey, Illinois
(618) 578-9407

PSST Golden Text [Perceive the inseparability of God and His idea, man.]
The child of God is always near and dear to the Father-Mother God, divine Love. As we comprehend God and man, Love and its idea, as inseparable, can we possibly experience any sense of loneliness or separation? The creator and perfect creation are referred to by Paul in his letter to the Romans. How can we see above a limited and dim view of mortality to perceive the inseparability of God and His idea, man?

PSST Responsive Reading [Adjust daily to the fact that flesh is illusion.]
Through Science we adjust ourselves to the fact that flesh is illusion and not the basis of life or the conditioner of health. God alone is the Life of man—His image, and the source of man's health. Christ Jesus said (John 6:63), "The flesh profiteth nothing." Peter stated the same standpoint when he wrote (I Pet. 1:24, 25): "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever." Accepting Spirit as the basis of life frees one to demonstrate true health. How are we adjusting ourselves to the fact that flesh is illusion on a daily basis? How are we recognizing flesh/matter as not the basis of life or the conditioner of health? How are we affirming regularly and persistently that God alone is life and His image is the source of man's health?

PSST Section 1[Prove the fact of perfection right now—uninterrupted despite difficulties!]
What does the second citation/marker in the Bible (James 1:17, 18) mean when it says, "shadow of turning?" What about "variableness?" The Message's version says: "Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures." How do we prove, despite difficult circumstances, that this Biblical promise of uninterrupted good continues to bless and sustain each one of us through constantly revitalized and immortal lives?

How is this promise provided for us? Are we trying to see our perfection in the flesh, instead of knowing that as God's children we are already perfect and always have been, and that our perfection cannot be increased by any change in matter? Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Perfection is not expressed through imperfection. Spirit is not made manifest through matter, the antipode of Spirit." Are we able to look at ourselves with joy? Are we disturbed by the condition or are we able to focus fully on our real spiritual nature?

How can we live the "great spiritual fact" of our present perfection and immortality right now? (SH5)

PSST Section 2[Don’t let human differences or scarcity mentality mask true brotherhood.]
In this section we are given the beginning of the story of Jacob and Esau. They were brothers, twins even, who were very different and seemed to let their human differences mask the fact of their true brotherhood. They fought even before they were born, did you know that? They looked different, acted different, and liked different things. Esau was a strong hunter who loved being outdoors. Jacob was the opposite – someone who stayed close to his mother and the desert tents they lived in. Jacob often cared for the animals. Here, we are told the part of the story where Jacob stole Esau's birthright, which was a very important thing in those days. Have you ever felt like someone took something of yours that was very important to you? Perhaps your joy, or sense of self-worth, or maybe a specific object? How did you deal with it? How did Esau deal with Jacob stealing his birthright? Can love be enough in situations like this? How so? How did Esau and Jacob come to realize and discover their true selfhood? (SH8)

PSST Section 3 [Drop the past! Trust God. Don’t let angels go till they bless you!]
As we learn more about the story of Jacob and Esau, we learn that Jacob worked for his uncle for 20 years, got married, had 13 children, and then was directed by God to return home. But Jacob was afraid to go back and see Esau again, even after all of the years that had passed. Have you ever been so afraid of the past that you felt you couldn't move forward toward what was next?

Jacob sent messengers with gifts to his brother, wondering if he still wanted to kill him. He wanted Esau to be his friend. These messengers told Jacob that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men and this information scared Jacob even more. He realized it was time to take his fears to God. Have you ever had a moment where the fear seemed so controlling that you realized you had to turn to God, maybe there was no other way to turn?

Jacob asked God for protection for his family, and put together a large gift of camels, cows, goats, and donkeys for Esau – over 550 animals in total! Have you ever felt that giving a gift would convince someone to be your friend?

That night, Jacob prayed and struggled. He wrestled with what he had done to Esau all those years ago (SH13), and realized that it was wrong. During this struggle in the night, God changed Jacob's name to Israel, and as God changed his name, Jacob felt his life change too. He talked with God as though they were face to face which was really the blessing that Jacob had wanted all along – a blessing from his divine Father. All he had to do was trust God. Have you ever had a moment where you realized that all you had to do was trust God, and you see clearly how simple the lesson could have been had you begun with that task?

PSST Section 4 [Stop competing. Find forgiveness to be a gift you give to yourself.]
Here we have the finale of this story of brotherhood and love. The day after Jacob (now Israel) wrestled with the angel, he was greeted by his brother Esau with a big hug and a kiss! Esau forgave Jacob (Israel). He had let go of the past hurt and anger, explaining to Jacob (Israel) that he didn't need his gifts. Esau already had enough. All of the gifts that Jacob (Israel) wanted to give Esau couldn't equal the gift of God's great and infinite love for them both. They didn't need to compete for first place of to be the best. They only needed to love each other. Have you ever had a moment where you realized that forgiveness and love were more powerful than any human solution to the problem at hand? How can your understanding that we're all children of God, divine Love, strengthen or repair relationships with friends and family? If forgiveness is needed, what ideas from this section might inspire your prayers? What is shared in this section about patience and how it blesses those relationships? (SH19, SH20) What does this section share about Love and its reflection being ever in sight? (SH22)

PSST Section 5[Come to Christ’s healing presence that discerns and dismisses lies.]
The story of the woman with the issue of blood is one of my favorites from the Bible for several reasons. The first reason is that really, all we know about her is her challenge. We don't know how old she was, or how tall or short she was. We don't know her hair color or if she was fair or dark-skinned. The only thing we really know about her is her dedication to experience healing. How cool would it be to only be known for our dedication to Science?

The second reason that I love this story is that Jesus was unaware of the woman's personal presence or her physical difficulty. He knew even less than we do as the reader, yet his pure consciousness discerned her call for help and met her human need! Mrs. Eddy writes regarding this experience: "When Jesus turned and said, 'Who hath touched me?' he must have felt the influence of the woman's thought; for it is written that he felt that 'virtue had gone out of him.' His pure consciousness was discriminating, and rendered this infallible verdict; but he neither held her error by affinity nor by infirmity, for it was detected and dismissed" (Unity of Good, 57). There are other examples in the Gospels where the Christ's presence healed the multitudes. This accomplishment takes constant mental discipline. It takes prayerful work. Have you ever been in a position where you needed to examine and choose your thoughts very carefully, because if you didn't then you might have been deceived and unwillingly accepting of erroneous suggestions as your own thoughts? Mrs. Eddy also had such a pure consciousness that enabled her to perform many healing works among those of receptive thought with whom she came in contact. Have you ever experienced such clear thought that resulted in healing?

PSST Section 6 ["Walk as children of light"!]
In this final section, we are given the facts that the truth of immortal being is and has always been and will forever be shining through any shade of sadness or sense of mortality! 1 Corinthians 15:54 ends with the words, "Death is swallowed up in victory." Where else can these words be found in the Bible? (Isaiah 25:8) What is so special about the fact that death cannot win?

Mrs. Eddy shares a comforting fact with us on page 476 in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "Mortality is finally swallowed up in immortality." This is a promise! How can we be set free from the illusion that death is real, that mortality exists, and that there seems to be an end to something so beautiful and freeing as life eternal? How can we be reassured that "the eternal Truth destroys what mortals seem to have learned from error" (SH 288:31)?

How can we be obedient to the command in Ephesians 5:8 and "walk as children of light"? What does that command mean to you?

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