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Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?”
for October 14, 2018

by Aubrey McMullin, CS, Godfrey, IL
(618) 578-9407

What is this week’s lesson all about?! WAKING UP!! Really WAKING UP and LIVING! What does that mean? How do we do it? What is the importance of waking up and when should we wake up?

There is so much food for thought in the lesson this week! There is so much to think on and consider and soak up and work into our daily activities and prayers, not only for ourselves and those close to us but also for the whole world. How do we do that? We wake up to reality and then we live reality!

PSST Golden Text: AWAKE!!

“… the present time is of the highest importance – it is time to wake up to reality. Every day brings God’s salvation nearer than the day in which we took the first step of faith…” – Romans 13:11 from the J.B. Phillips New Testament in Modern English

I really appreciate the different translations of this text from Romans 13:11, including the King James Version which states: “NOW it is high time to AWAKE OUT OF SLEEP: for NOW is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” The importance of now is stressed so much in this verse. Why should we want to wait to awake to reality? What is the sleep that we are awaking from? How do you define sleep? When I looked up the word “sleep” in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, I was very happy with what I found: “the state of an animal in which the voluntary exertion of his mental or corporeal powers is suspended, and he rests unconscious of what passes around him… the mind is often very active in sleep; but its powers not being under the control of reason, its exercises are very irregular.”

What does Mary Baker Eddy say about consciousness? What does she say about sleep and being active in sleep? What does she say about control and reason? What does she say about consistency? This is an amazing start for this lesson, and I’m sure we can learn more about waking up!

PSST Responsive Reading: AWAKE from the dream! AWAKE to reality!

If we are working to wake to reality and to wake from the corporeal dream, why is it important to understand that God is ever-present? Are we willing to see the powerful results of spiritual healing?

Awakening is an important Biblical theme. There were Old Testament prophets who urged their listeners to awake. And in Christ Jesus' healing works we see the powerful results of spiritual awakening. True being – reality – is spiritual, because God is Spirit. The one Mind is continuously saying through the Scriptures, "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord" (RR, Jeremiah 23:23-24).

When challenges arise, we can ask ourselves, “Can divine Mind know anything about this claim? Is this only a dream? Can I, as reflection of Love and Mind, be put to sleep or made to dream this abnormality? If the one Mind is demonstrating itself to be All, really All, and this prevents the hypnotic picture presented by the corporeal senses from having any part of reality then is what is being presented to me reality or dream?”

A dream cannot think, cannot create, cannot destroy. It is not causative, and not contagious. It has no path to run, no pattern to follow, no state or stage to go through before its nothingness is seen and demonstrated. Omnipresent Love is all-powerful whether at hand or afar off, even to the remotest bounds of the earth. "Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." Our Leader says of Him (Science and Health, p. 331): "He is divine Principle, Love, the universal cause, the only creator, and there is no other self-existence. He is all-inclusive, and is reflected by all that is real and eternal and by nothing else. He fills all space, and it is impossible to conceive of such omnipresence and individuality except as infinite Spirit or Mind."

PSST Section 1: AWAKE to the allness of good!

In the very first citation from the Bible in this section, we are reminded of the final word of creation: that “God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (B1, Genesis 1:31). What does that leave room for? Why do you think that citation starts this section of the lesson? If we wake to the reality that EVERYTHING God made is VERY good, then can anything be real that is not very good? How do we awake to this goodness, to the confidence in this goodness being all and being present?

One of the basic truths taught by Mrs. Eddy is that there is one supreme and infinite God. On page 465 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she defines God in part as "incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." This true concept of God, as it is understood, results in spiritual as well as physical healing. Mary Baker Eddy denies the reality of evil because she accepts the Scriptural teaching that God is the only creator, and that all that He creates is good. She writes in Science and Health (SH1): "All reality is in God and His creation, harmonious and eternal. That which He creates is good, and He makes all that is made. The only reality of sin, sickness, or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise. They are not true, because they are not of God."

What disguises is God stripping that may seem real to us right now? What dreams, whether pain, pleasure in matter, sin, sickness, death, are we waking from as we realize reality in God (SH3)? How does the 3rd citation from Science and Health relate back to the Golden Text? What are we awaking from? And what are we awaking to?

What are some promises given to us in this section about safety and protection? Does the safety promised cease when we are sleeping? How do we awake to the continuity of this protection and security? How does God search us and know us? (B5, Psalm 139:1) How do we know each other? How can we wake from a mortal standpoint, and move from sense to Soul (Hymn 64) – into the reality of divine Mind?

As we pray to love God supremely, our true, spiritual identity is more and more revealed to us. It is through prayer that human troubles are brought into subjection to the supremacy of Spirit. As we awake to see ourselves in the light of Truth, we find the shadows of the mortal dream, with their endless litany of pain, disease, and sorrow, starting to recede. In the reflected light of God's love, man is revealed as perfect—the reflection of infinite Love. What is the darkness that we are sometimes led to believe is as real as light (SH4)? How is that darkness diminished?

PSST Section 2: AWAKE and behold the nothingness of sin and sickness and suffering!

David said, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness;" (B10, Psalm 17:15) indicating his belief that the true man is the likeness of God. What does Christian Science teach about the true man? Does it teach that man needs to be awakened from the false dream of life into the consciousness of the reality of being, which constitutes one's true and real individuality? Does it teach that the only real consciousness is spiritual? Does it teach that mortal consciousness, or mortal mind, is a falsity or illusion and has no more entity than darkness? What is darkness?

What is light? We ended the first section with a citation in Science and Health that reminds us of the relation between dream and darkness, truth and light. This leads us right into the 2nd section where we hear of a dream which brought fear, and then are encouraged to awake and be satisfied in God’s likeness.

Darkness, the dream, appears to be real to those who seem to be in it, but no one will contend that it is an entity. David said, "The darkness and the light are both alike to thee," which is equivalent to saying. "To Thee all is light and there is no darkness." Now which is deceived, mortal man, who beholds the darkness, or God, to whom there is no darkness? The only answer is this: if to supreme Intelligence darkness has no existence, then it can have no existence at all. What do we know of sin and sickness and suffering if we know that to supreme intelligence they have no existence? (SH6, SH10)

We can realize as students of Christian Science that Science shows us the true way out of the waking dream of a material existence with all its fear and suffering, and for this reason healing is sure and permanent. On page 494 of Science and Health (SH7) Mary Baker Eddy writes, "Reason, rightly directed, serves to correct the errors of corporeal sense; but sin, sickness, and death will seem real (even as the experiences of the sleeping dream seem real) until Science of man's eternal harmony breaks their illusion with the unbroken reality of scientific being." What does she mean by “rightly directed?” What is the “unbroken reality of scientific being” mentioned?

In the words of Mary Baker Eddy (Science and Health, p. 123), "Divine Science, rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas." Is this an example of waking from the mortal dream? How is rising above physical theories, excluding matter, resolving things into thoughts, or waking up? Does Christian Science merely resolve things into thoughts? How do we demonstrate spiritual healing by replacing false, material beliefs with spiritual ideas (SH10)?

PSST Section 3: AWAKE to truth and dominion and a better belief!

Unlike the first account of creation – the true, spiritual creation, which begins with God providing light – this second account does not mention light at all. Instead it begins on an uncanny note of unreality, "There went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (B11, Gen. 2:6). What unnatural, mist-covered images – a man formed from dust, a tree of knowledge, a talking serpent – are the central characters in this false testimony! How does Christian Science draw the distinction between these two stories of creation clearly for us? In the first chapter we see the perfect man, the spiritual image and likeness of God, framed by His Word (B1). Then in the second chapter we see a formation of living dust, a material thing called Adam (B11). How do the two accounts conflict at every point? How does the self-styled invention of the mortal from Genesis 2 dispute the creator's judgment in Genesis 1, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (B1)? How do we clear away the mist presented in Genesis 2 in order to awake to the reality of Genesis 1 (SH17)?

For us to awake to creation and existence as God knows it, the deadly, delusive Adam dream of mortality has to disappear so that the true, Christly view of perfect Life can appear. The Bible confirms this fact, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (B12, 1 Cor. 15:22). We learn in Science to reflect the healing light of Christ, Truth, by holding our thought steadfastly to the underlying perfection that God maintains eternally. What are some citations that support this demand on our thought as Christian Scientists? How do we prove Mrs. Eddy's statement, "Man is incapable of sin, sickness, and death. The real man cannot depart from holiness, nor can God, by whom man is evolved, engender the capacity or freedom to sin” (SH15). How does the understanding of the allness of Spirit and the consequent nothingness of matter reveal the healing presence and power of Christ, Truth?

In the ninth chapter of Matthew (B15, Matthew 9:2-8) we read of a remarkable case of healing, when Jesus practically explained the foundation of his work which is also the basis of all the healing work undertaken in Christian Science today. A helpless man, "sick of the palsy," was brought to Jesus, who addressed him, saying: "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." Jesus’ statement immediately aroused in the thought of some who were present the severest disapproval, and they charged him with blasphemy, which under Jewish law was a capital offense. To their unspoken criticism Jesus responded with the question, "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?" He then proceeded to explain that the healing of both sin and sickness rests upon the one divine Principle, and the Science of his words was made clear when the man was healed and departed to his house. How does this account show us that only God can have dominion over His idea? How does this story demonstrate for us the importance of elevated thought? How do we answer the questions posed to us at the beginning of this section’s Science and Health portion?

PSST Section 4: AWAKE to your God-given authority and heal!

What is your God-given authority? Have you awoken to it? How are you exercising it? How does the story of the pool of Bethesda encourage you to exercise it more consistently? Are you waiting for something to happen to you or for you, or are you willing to take action and exercise your divine authority (SH18) and heal? Are you waking up from the dream that you are powerless and alone? Are you moving in the direction of healing – or are you waiting for healing to come to you? What are you exercising?

The word "exercise" is defined in part as follows: "A putting into use, action, or practice. … Exercise in the ordinary sense is the easy, natural action of any power." With this definition in view, it is interesting and inspiring to see how Mary Baker Eddy uses this word in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. On page 393 she says: "Mind is the master of the corporeal senses, and can conquer sickness, sin, and death. Exercise this God-given authority. Take possession of your body, and govern its feeling and action." She also states on page 395 (SH18): “the healer should speak to disease as one having authority over it, leaving Soul to master the false evidences of the corporeal senses and to assert its claims over mortality and disease.” We are asked to put into use and practice, into easy, natural action, this God-given, divine, authority. How are we being awakened to the activity and force of right thinking, and also to the fact that this true and correct thinking is natural and easy?

Doesn’t exercise imply regularity of conscientious performance? Physical exercise definitely means this to an athlete, and spiritually mental exercise must mean this to Christian Scientists if they are to overcome the claims of sickness and sin. We must exercise alert, active, right thinking all the time and under every circumstance. This scientific thinking is spontaneous, never laborious, and it heals sickness now as surely as it did when Jesus employed it. What are some truthful arguments (SH20) that must be clear to us in order to really exercise our God-given authority over error? How do we gain the “rightful nutriment” (SH21) in order to fully enable ourselves to exercise this divine authority and heal?

PSST Section 5: AWAKE and roll away the stone of personal sense and illusion of death!

Sometimes society's obsession with speed pushes us into an anxious, hurry mode, where we not only find ourselves rushing to get somewhere or to accomplish something but also, almost without knowing it, we become rushed. How can rushing through our days – and through our lives – rob us of some of the most valuable opportunities life presents? We've all felt this – moments stolen, not gained; peace and joy drained; vision and perspective a blur. How can we challenge this? How can we wake up from this suggestion of angst and a rushed existence? How can we maintain our divine joy, peace, and perspective? There is wonder and beauty all around us waiting to be discovered. Yet in the midst of the world's insistent "hurry up," how can we find the opportunity to explore and know, even to cherish, all that is good and important in life? How did Jesus challenge this mode of existing?

I can't imagine Jesus being rushed or stressed by hurry or impressed to hurry. He was someone who would tell his disciples, "My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you" (John 14:27). Jesus was peace exemplified. He had God-given dominion, just like we were reminded that we do in the last section! All is actually governed and shaped by God's will. It wasn't up to Jesus personally to make something happen. All was in God's hands, and Jesus lived to express the will of God, not his own, in everything he did. On one occasion, when he was told that his friend Lazarus was sick (B21), Jesus waited two days before he traveled to be with the family of Lazarus. It appeared to be an emergency. Jesus was urgently needed. Yet he wasn't anxious. He wasn't rushed. He wasn't sucked into this dream of sickness and worry and angst and fear. He stayed awake to reality and ready for what God needed him to do. When he arrived, the family told him that it had been four days since Lazarus's death. Jesus prayed. He called to Lazarus. And Lazarus was restored, healed – instantly. Jesus wasn't rushed. He had dominion. The healing work of the Christ is consistently immediate, instant. Jesus proved that this same understanding of truth, which Christian Science – the law of God – reveals, is available to everyone. It is at the heart of our own demonstrations of dominion as well.

In Miscellaneous Writings Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, poses this question: "What is it that seems a stone between us and the resurrection morning?" And she answers succinctly, "It is the belief of mind in matter."

From Science and Health citations SH23, SH25, SH26, SH27, SH28, we learn that the dream/belief that we live in a mortal body would keep us entombed in the sepulcher of mortal thinking. And that as we awake from this limited concept of man and begin to understand that in reality man is the image of God, the eternal expression of changeless divine Principle, we begin to emerge from the tomb into "a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence" (SH 593:9, from the definition of Resurrection)

Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing. … Rushing around smartly is no proof of accomplishing much" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 230). God's creation isn’t rushed. God gives us dominion and peace and joy – a spiritual perspective of all that is truly important. When we look at our friends or those with whom we come in contact, what do we see? Mortals? Or are we able to look beyond physicality, as Christ Jesus did, and see God's perfect man? When Jesus stood before the tomb of Lazarus, to raise his friend from death, he commanded, "Take ye away the stone." Wasn't he saying, "Take away your belief of life in matter, your belief that Lazarus lived in a material body"? Then he proved the falsity of what people were believing – acknowledged God's answer to his prayer and called out, “Lazarus, come forth." Then, we read, "he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."

Jesus removed this stone – this "belief of mind in matter" – not only for Lazarus but also for himself in his own resurrection. How are we removing this stone for ourselves and others today? How are we waking to the reality of man as God's idea? Vigilance and alertness counteract the constant suggestions of life in matter. Only through refusing to let such lies into our consciousness will we find ourselves emerging from the tomb of mortal thinking – from the mortal laws that would keep us "bound hand and foot with graveclothes" – into this "higher idea of immortality."

PSST Section 6: AWAKE and rejoice for the mortal dream will forever cease!

Human thought claims that the material body, made up of many material elements and dependent on an organ called heart for life, is man. The human mind is prone to believe that the healing of a material condition is all that is needed; whereas the actual need is always for spiritual awakening. The mortal, with its false sense of good and its seeming evil, will become less and less real as we study and demonstrate the truths of Christian Science, until we finally awake entirely from this Adam-dream. Just how truly mental the heart is can be readily admitted by anyone. The earnest student of Christian Science is finding his way out of dreamland and is awakening to the realities of being and to his true selfhood. Let us not be satisfied with the dream of material sense, but be satisfied only when awake to see man in His likeness.

We have the assuring statement by Mary Baker Eddy in her textbook (SH30): "When we wake to the truth of being, all disease, pain, weakness, weariness, sorrow, sin, death, will be unknown, and the mortal dream will forever cease." The awakening to truth is a present possibility for everyone. How? We can begin to rejoice now that we are not mortal, but Love's own image – free, untouched by error, at peace and joyous in Him. Remember that man can be found nowhere but in God, Love, and there he is always found spiritual and perfect.

Man is unconfined, unrestricted. There is no matter to him; there is only the substance of Love. We express this substance daily, hourly, as we reflect beauty, joy, warmth, kindness, tenderness, peace, and goodness. What are you going to awake from this week? This day? This year? Forever? Are you ready for the promise that the mortal dream forever ceasing to be demonstrated? How will you be rejoicing and singing and praising the true man from here on out?

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