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[P.S.S.T.: Stay in Christ's joyous way!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Christian Science”
for Sunday, June 29, 2014

By Tom and Amy Evans, former CedarS staff members.

Possible Sunday School Topics for the Golden Text (G.T.) All can be part of “The Way”
Early Christians were called “The Way” according to Acts 9:1; 18:25-26; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22. The term may have originated from Isaiah 40:3, “A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This verse is quoted in the beginning of each gospel (Mt. 3:3; Mk. 1:3; Lk 3:4; Jn 1:23)

What is God’s Way? Is this similar to God’s will? Later in section 4, we will learn about where the term Christians was first used according to the book of Acts. Look at the inclusive language used throughout the lesson this week. Everyone can know God’s way and God’s saving health “among all nations.”

P.S.S.T. for the Responsive Reading—Inclusivity & blessings with God’s law
Again, see the inclusivity of “all the people” praising God and “the nations” giving thanks and singing for joyGod’s law is in the hearts of the faithful. We can delight to do God’s will (Ps. 40:8).

If the Golden Text is a 1-verse summary of the whole lesson and the Responsive Reading gives us a sample of what is to come, prep your class to think about this before Sunday School starts. What can they gleam from the GT and RR?

P.S.S.T. for Section 1—Delighting with great peace in God's law, unoffended in “the way”!.
Connect the dots here.  How do we get from delighting in God’s law (B1) in the Old Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures) to the New Testament's “light of life” (B2), to the love of Christ, inspiration (B4), and revelation (B5) [where "everything's going God's way!"  Those who delight in God's way and laws are "whole-souled" and "nothing shall offend them" (B1, Ps. 119:174) See Warren's P.S. for a practical, Bible-based example of being "determined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is…" Miscellaneous Writings, 224:25]

Extend this searching further. How did Mrs. Eddy discover the healing Principle of Christianity? Search the Scriptures (B3, S1, S2, S4, S6) and Revelation—pull this apart and look closer (S5).

Possible Sunday School Topics for Section 2—Are we an active part of “the way”?
What does it mean or look like to love in deed and in truth (B6)? Have you loved this week? Why did Jesus touch the leper (B7)?  He had to break all kinds of societal codes to do so. Was he proving them wrong?  [You may want to reenact this healing with your class using a script and more follow-up questions that you can download from the upper right corner of CedarS webpages about this week's Bible Lesson.  A video reenactment of it by CedarS campers this week will be posted before Sunday at http://www.cedarscamps.org/videos/
How do people know a Christian when they see one? How do Christians recognize each other (B8)?  LOVE!  This same sense of love is the foundation of Christian Science (S7). How is love part of demonstrating Christianity, healing, faith, etc.? See citation S8. Reason through citation S9: when you believe on Christ and apprehend Truth, you apprehend Science—that’s all it takes and you “must” get it.  Citation S10 is part of a larger paragraph discussing how to eliminate sin from one’s life. Citation S11 wants us to be more thorough in our arguments against sickness, but citation S12 reveals the best method, even better than argument: LOVE.

P.S.S.T. for Section 3—Peter is an example for all: Give “The Way” the Master Gave!
In this section Jesus empowers (B9, B10) and sends out disciples (B11) to heal “with signs following.”  Mrs. Eddy talks about us being included in this message (S14) as disciples (S13) and “the salt of the earth” (S15) who bless mankind (S16).

Talk about the healing of Dorcas in citation B12.  [You may even want to reenact it with your class using a script that you can downlooad from the upper right corner of CedarS webpages about this week's Bible Lesson.  A video reenactment by CedarS campers this week will be posted before Sunday at http://www.cedarscamps.org/videos/ ]  What needed to happen for Peter to heal her? Why couldn’t any of the disciples there in Joppa heal her?  This story is similar to Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:22-24, 35-43 and Luke 8:41-42, 49-56). What’s the same about the two stories (weeping, etc)?  What is different?  Jesus asks a crowd of paid mourners to leave. (They were paid to cry and make a big scene the family looked more important.)  In Peter’s resurrection account of Dorcas, the people weeping are identified as widows—they could have been Christians who knew better that to look at the material picture!  How often do we get caught up in the lie when we should denounce it?

In citation S14 we read “Its Principle is infinite, reaching beyond the pale of a single period or of a limited following.”  Wow, we are connected to the same healing movement as Jesus and the disciples.  In citations S15 and S16 it’s Christianity which heals—not specifically the format of Christian Science culture or practices.  It’s the Christianly Scientific love we can all express.  Talk about this slight, but important difference with your class. 

Possible Sunday School Topics for Section 4 –A Healing Church = the Foundation of “The Way”
Look at the link between followers of the way first being called “Christians” in Acts 11:26 (B15) and the same Christianity being equated to Christian Science (S21).  This discussion can continue from last section.  Citation S19 can be linked to Section 2 with action being greater than speech.  Notice how Mrs. Eddy talks about the Life that is Truth and the Truth that is Life.  How are these two synonyms of God so connected? There is a connection with foundational ideas in citations B16 and S17.  What foundation are you laying?  What does it mean to be Christ’s?  Look at citations S20 and S21. How do you find Christianity and Christian Science to be one? [As Kerry points out in this week's PYCLs: "Jesus 'church' was clearly founded on healing.  He pretty much shredded anything about church that was based solely in tradition with no love of God infused in it.  How is Mrs. Eddy's church reflected in this?  What is church for us?  If we don't like going to Sunday School, what can we do to make it more like what Jesus envisioned?]

Possible Sunday School Topics for Section 5 –The Higher Mission & Way of the Christ Power
Section 5 is all about sin: destroying it (B17), Jesus stopping it at great personal sacrifice (B18), not sinning (B19), and recognizing a way out with following God’s way (B20).  Again, the early Christian community reading a letter in 1st John wants to identify who is truly a follower of the way. Notice how many times law appears in the Bible of this section. What does law have to do with sin? Whose law are you following? What does Mrs. Eddy write about freedom from sin (see citations S22 and S23). How are “healing the sick and reforming the sinner” “one and the same thing in Christian Science” (S24)? What are the similarities and differences between healing sickness and destroying sin? Ask you class, what is the purpose of the Christ power, of Christian Science? It’s to “take away the sins of the world” (B25). Healing is just a bonus.

Possible Sunday School Topics for Section 6 – Ready for Action in “The Way”
Paul is incredibly inclusive of others. This was very forward thinking for the time when he proclaims salvation to all even the Greeks, by Greeks he means non-Jewish people (B23). To “gird up the loins of your mind” means to prepare your minds for action! (B24) How are you doing this? This connects back to section 2 citation B6 with love in action instead of words.

Why is it that Christian Science can be seen as a rational system? Is it because a human organized it so? NO, it’s God’s Principle of the Universe. What does this have to do with citation S27? How had God been “graciously preparing” Mrs. Eddy for the revelation of Christian Science? Think about her life and experiences. What experiences do we have that are God graciously preparing us for the next step or His direction? What are you taking with you from S29? How is Christian Science imperious (commanding) throughout all ages?


[Warren's P.S. on Joe (as promised at the end of Michelle's Met Application ideas): We read in citation B1 “Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them.”  (Ps. 119:165)  Here's an example of how perfect this concept was in helping me solve a problem of unfair treatment in the first architectural firm I worked at.  Instead of taking offense and reacting, I was able to respond with a sense of divine Love when Joe, my immediate supervisor, did several mean and unfair things to me.  His actions were apparently motivated by jealousy of my Princeton University education and were aimed at making my work look bad before our mutual employer.  Joe assigned me the most menial jobs to do, and then proceeded to smear my lettering and even to poke a hole (with a drafting triangle) in a drawing that I'd been working on all day.)  On my drive home that night I humbly prayed for God's help to heal this situation.  As I fervently prayed the "Daily Prayer" to get new meaning out of each familiar word, it struck me that I was praying for God to "rule our of ME all sin", not to rule anything out of Joe!  (Church Manual, 41)  Two examples from the Bible came to mind right away about individuals who had overcome hateful injustice and unkindness.  Although Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and was later unjustly accused and thrown into prison, he refused to be discouraged and continued to "live to give" no matter his circumstances.  Mary Baker Eddy's spiritual sense definition of "Joseph" in the Glossary of Science and Health reads in part: "pure affection, blessing its enemies."  (589:21) I pledged that no matter what Joe did, I would not react and take offense, but would rather do all I could to bless him. 

I also remembered how Jesus was given the most unfair and horrific treatment imaginable, even whipping and death by crucifixion. Yet, he refused to react or to take it personally.  In the Garden of Gethsemane he knew what was coming but instead of running away or reacting in anger to those who he knew would hurt him, he healed one of his captors.  In an attempt to defend his Master, Peter reacted by whipping out his sword and cutting off the ear of one of Jesus' captor.  Jesus responded to that reactionary situation by lift all involved to divine Love by quickly healing the severed ear.  As Mary Baker Eddy says as part of the definition of "Gethsemane" in the Glossary of Science and Health "love meeting no response, but still remaining love."  (586:24) With Jesus as my example, I decided that I would remain loving no matter what Joe did the next day and thereafter.  At first it looked like Joe had not changed at all in the way he treated me, but these Bible examples had “ruled out of me all sin”, all tendency to react with anger and hate.  What turned the tide and changed everything with Joe was my spontaneous offer to do something unselfish for him.  I quickly offered to loan him money and to drive him around during our lunch hour when I overheard him lamenting to another co-worker that he just remembered that it was his wedding anniversary, that he had forgotten to get a present for his wife and had left his wallet in his car which he had dropped off at a distant repair shop. From that point on Joe and I became best friends.  He taught me how to play racquetball and we played several times a week when we weren't waterskiing behind his boat after work. He attended several Christian Science lectures with me and even started studying a Science and Health that I shared with him.  As it says "No power can withstand divine Love."  (Science and Health, 224:31)]

 

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