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[PSST: Strive for Spirit!]

Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson – February 10, 2013

By: Heather K. Libbe, CS (heather.libbe@gmail.com; 419-343-7870)

Subject – SPIRIT  

I always love when the synonyms appear as subjects of the Bible Lesson!  What a great opportunity to learn more about Spirit this week!

Recently, I’ve enjoyed looking at how each of the seven synonyms are biblically based (ex: Spirit – John 4:24 and 1 John 4:13)  There are many examples of this throughout the Lesson and it could be fun to highlight some of these.  Furthermore, it might also be helpful to talk about how these seven different names for God can help us connect with friends of different faiths!  After all, this is Worldwide Interfaith Harmony Week J

As a teenager, I remember always having a bit of difficulty understanding the synonyms of Spirit and Soul because of how they are used in other religions (ex: spirits and souls are within and go to either heaven or hell after we die) and even how they were presented in school. A word that has helped me better understand this synonym, as it relates to Christian Science, is “origin.”  To me, this is a really nice reminder, as it says in the Scientific Statement of Being, that we are spiritual, not material.  Our original is spiritual.

I also enjoy thinking about all the different attributes of Spirit: energy, excitement, vigor, enthusiasm, positivity, liveliness, lighthearted, encouragement, cheer, and so on. Where might we have seen these in our experience?  Might these be examples of the ever-presence of Spirit?

Below are some thoughts and questions relating to this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson.  Wishing you a wonderfully fruitful time with your students! 

 

PSST Golden Text (Job 33:4)

“The Spirit of God has made me; and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

What a powerful statement!  What does it mean to be made by the Spirit of God?  Is this the image that the world presents us?  How might this relate the belief of heredity?  What does it mean that “the breath of the Almighty” gives us life?

 

PSST Responsive Reading (Isaiah 60:1, 16 and thou, 19; 61:1 (to 1st ;), 10, 11) 

There is a lot in this week’s Lesson about light, starting with what we find in the Responsive Reading.  What might it look like to “Arise, shine” and whose light are we using to shine?  (This could be a nice opportunity to reference Matt. 5:16 in the Sermon on the Mount)  How is God our light?  Can this light ever be extinguished?  Can darkness exist simultaneously?  No!  How is God our everlasting light?

PSST Section 1:

Again, light!  What is significant about this first day of creation? (B1)  Have you or your students ever had experiences that seem completely dark or devoid of good?  What has moved you passed this pattern of thought?  What has enlightened your darkness?  How is God’s presence seen in these experiences?  How does man, as the idea of Spirit, reflect the “beatific presence, illuming the universe with light” as it says in citation S7?  How are we the expressions of light?

There is also an emphasis on creation in this particular section. (S3-S5)  Because the chapter called “Creation” in Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures is fairly short, it could be a neat exercise to read through a bit of the Creation chapter or split it up into sections for the students to read and explore.

What evidence do we see of Spirit as creator?  How does the concept of creation relate to our individual experiences?  In school?  At home?  With friends?  Through athletics and extracurricular activities?  Who is the true creator?  (Here’s a passage in Science & Health – consequently from the Creation chapter – that has been a very humble reminder to me about who is actually doing the creating when it seems I have to “create” something,  “Mortals are egotists. They believe themselves to be independent workers, personal authors, and even privileged originators of something which Deity would not or could not create.” (pg 262))  How does the universe reflect “creative power” and where do we see this in our experience? (S4)

Another important point in this section can be found in the following citation, “The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, — that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle.” (S2)  What does Mrs. Eddy say is the starting point of divine Science?  What evidence of God’s allness have we seen within the past week?  How does this relate to Spirit?

 

PSST Section 2

A discussion about the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego can go in many different directions. (B5) Perhaps one place to start would be getting the basic details about the stories: Who was the king in rule at the time? (I remember once my sixth grade teacher stumbling over how to pronounce Nebuchadnezzar who became very impressed that I could just rattle it off, thanks to learning it in Sunday school – never hurts to go over the pronunciation again J) What decree was put in place after the Chaldeans accused the Jews? What were Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego charged? How did they respond to Nebuchadnezzar upon being accused of not serving Nebuchadnezzar’s gods like the law commanded? How did Nebuchadnezzar respond to their initial response? What is the outcome of the story?

One of my favorite Christian Science Journal articles is called “The Smell of Fire” by Louise Knight Wheatley. This might be a great article to either read through with or hand out to your class, as it does a great job highlighting how protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were in the fiery furnace. It may be interesting to point out that the furnace was heated seven times hotter than it normally was and that they went into the furnace with all their clothes. It’s also interesting to note that even Nebuchadnezzar, who was “full of furry,” was able to recognize the Son of God – the Christ – with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace. And, none of them were hurt! Not only that, Nebuchadnezzar completely changes his ways and acknowledges who was protecting the three men in the fiery furnace. (Again, this could tie back to Matthew 5:16 that talks about letting our light shine so that they glorify GOD, rather than so they can see how great we are! This also ties in to the idea of being “children of light” in B6)

“The Smell of Fire” article points out that, as they came out of the fiery furnace, not only were they perfectly protected, not even the smell of fire remained! How might this connect to your students’ own experience? Have they had experiences where they’ve felt like they’ve been thrown in a fiery furnace? How might we translate “things into thoughts” with that idea that they emerged from the furnace without even the smell of fire? How does that tie into the healings that we have experienced and witnessed? How does that relate to long time and difficult challenges? Accidents? How does this reinforce the idea that “Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony…” from S13?

How might this story be an example of “serving two masters” and how does Mrs. Eddy expound on this idea? (S9) Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot that reading Science & Health has really helped people understand the Bible; after all, Key to the Scriptures is part of the title! What a perfect example of how she helps us dive deeper into this passage! Also, if you have any science people in your class or even just people who like to blow things up, Mrs. Eddy does use the word “spontaneous combustion” in conjunction with the story of the fiery furnace. (S11) Furthermore, Mrs. Eddy talks about the “indestructible man” later on. (S14)

 

PSST Section 3

Thinking back to the recurring theme of light, what might Jesus mean when he says “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life?” (B9)  How does Jesus fulfill prophecy? (B7)  Might we be charged with the same types of actions? (example: heal the broken-hearted, preach deliverance to the captives, etc)  Are your students familiar with the Radical Acts Challenge that is happening right now through TMCYouth?  Might you want to use some of these Radical Acts to challenge your students to go deeper in their understanding of how to really practice some of Jesus’ toughest teachings?

In the spirit of interfaith dialogue and encouraging students to be sharing Christian Science with their friends, what are some different interpretations of the idea “I and my Father are one.” (example: many use this specific verse as evidence that Jesus is God, whereas Mrs. Eddy talks about this statement indicating “one in quality, not in quantity” (Science & Health pg 361))  How might we connect with individuals of other faith traditions who do not believe what we do?  [Warren: Check out the series of “Christ’s Christianity” podcasts including the latest on on Feb. 5, 2013.   In the January 23, 2013 podcast called “Healing: Highlighting Christian Themes”, Chet Manchester and Shirley Paulson shared some great insights on finding bridge-building points in discussing Christian Science healing with fellow Christians.  “Chet and Shirley highlight some basic themes that resonate with others.”]   How does Mrs. Eddy connect several statements from the Bible that appear in this section? (S15)  How does this section help us better understand the Christ?

 

PSST Section 4

I love the connection between light, Spirit and liberty in the fourth section!  How might Christ give us light? (B11 – which can connect back to citation B9)  How does the story in this section exemplify that?  (One thing I noticed this week was that Christ calls the woman with the spirit of infirmity to him.)  Are there any modern day examples of this?  How long did her healing take?  (I like to point out to people that every healing is technically instantaneous, happening the instant we turn wholeheartedly to God and realize more of our perfection as the image and likeness of Love.)  How might this healing serve as encouragement for those who have been working toward a healing for a very long time?

What do we learn more about God, Spirit, in this section?  How about man’s relation to God, Spirit? (S19)  How does Mrs. Eddy address the idea of spirits? (S20)  How does Christ relate to Spirit? (S21)  How about Christian Science? (S23)  What might it mean that the effect of Christian Science is to “stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind” and have we seen this in our own experience?  Is this always comfortable?  What is doing the healing work?  Is Christian Science able to heal everything?

 

PSST Section 5

Light!  There is a poem that begins, “I am the light that God shines through. For He and I are one, not two,” which so perfectly connects the idea that “I and my Father are one” (B10) and the passage from II Corinthians. (B16)  In the most recently Sentinel Audio Chat with called “Conscious Worth Satisfies the Heart,” Mark Unger, CS does a great job sharing the analogy of God as the sun and we as the rays.  This may be helpful to explain our unbreakable connection to God, which shows up a couple times throughout the Lesson.  Whereas I have heard that we are the light in the above statement, I’ve also heard that we are the shine.  This connects with the command in the Responsive Reading to “Arise, shine”!

This section also touches on spiritual sense in both the Bible (B17) and Science & Health citations.  (S25 and B26) How can we know and believe that the spiritual is the real and eternal when we see evidence of so many things contrary to this? (S29)  How can we develop this “sixth sense” or our spiritual sense?  Do we use this sense as much as our other five senses?  How does spiritual sense connect with light?  And, can this light ever be extinguished?

This week, let’s strive to “advance spiritually” and recognize all the good with our spiritual sense!

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