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[PSST: Yield to nonstop Love: be “dragged into compassion”; find salvation by making efforts to see all as neighbors, not just those who look & act like you! (1-3)]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Love” for Sunday, January 29, 2017

By Tom and Amy Evans, former staff members and big fans of CedarS

Have fun looking through this lesson at all the things that Love can do!

PSST Golden Text & Responsive Reading (RR)

The Responsive Reading builds on the Golden Text, “God is Love.” List examples from the RR of God’s expression of love and the fact that God is love itself.

The concept of God as fully Love, not sometimes wrathful or capable of vengeance is foreign to many people. Discuss this idea of God as divine Love. Why is being “set…in a large place” a relief for someone reaching out to God in distress?

PSST for Section 1

Having grown up with the King James Version, I read some Old English phrases and assume I know what they mean. A closer look at “with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3) in the Greek BGN* yields: I have εἵλκυσά (dragged / Pulled / hauled) σε εἰς you (to/ toward / into) οἰκτίρημα (mercy / compassion). What does it mean to be loved with an “everlasting love” and hauled into mercy and compassion (B1)? Describe what that feels like. Why can we be confident that there is nothing to fear (see citations B3 and B4). How does love cast out fear? Consider citation S1. How powerful is the statement, “God is Love”? Is this phrase posted in your church’s sanctuary? Why? Do we ever dismiss it as a trite answer? What did Mary Baker Eddy think of the statement? Look at citation S5 to see her definition of “enough”.

PSST for Section 2

What is a river of God’s pleasures (B5)? What makes God happy? What does Jesus mean when he says a flower is dressed in more impressive garments than Solomon, the most wealthy king in Israel’s history (B7)? Hint: God provides for them. We know plants can’t work or spin thread. Why does Jesus point this out as part of God’s provision (B7)? What does the gift of God’s kingdom have to do with prayer in secret (B8)? Compare citations B7 and B8 with citation S6. Citations S6, S7, S8, and S9 are about God’s provision, while S10 recalls Paul’s statement to “work out your own salvation.” Are these contradictions, or is there an element of individual prayer and consecration tied to this divine gift? Is it a formula? (No)

PSST for Section 3

Citation B10 reminds us to show our love through our actions, not just our words. Citation B12 is the story of the good Samaritan. Remember, the story started with a lawyer wanting to tempt (or maybe trick) Jesus. Jesus lets the lawyer answer his own question and then he shares the parable of the good Samaritan. Ask your students to paraphrase the story, or to tell it from their point of view (our 3-year-old daughter shared that the Samaritan wiped away his tears before taking the man to a hotel. Those are key points that she connected with the story). Talk about how we can be loving to our neighbor. The Samaritan was probably not the man’s ideal pick for the one to come to his aid. Is your neighbor someone who has different political views than you? Someone who with a different group of friends? Someone of a different race, faith, orientation, or socioeconomic class? How are you making an effort to see everyone as your neighbor, not just the people who look and act like you? Look at citation S12. Mrs. Eddy describes what will happen when we understand that “all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love.” She states that “war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established.” Discuss how we can apply what Mrs. Eddy writes in citation S13-S16. How are we seeing our brothers and sisters?

PSST for Section 4

Section 3 ends with Mrs. Eddy’s “weary hope” realizing what “…the healing power of the divine Love…is doing for mankind.” How are Jairus and his wife realizing “this happy day” in citation B16? How are the paid mourners realizing it? Describe Jesus’ healing of the girl. Why do you think James, John, and Peter were selected by Jesus to go into the house? What qualities of thought do you think were helpful for the situation? Continuing our focus on the resurrection healing of the girl, explain how citation S18 fits into Jesus’ teaching for his disciples: “Christian scientific practice begins with Christ's keynote of harmony, ‘Be not afraid!’” With Jairus’ daughter’s healing or an example in your life, how does divine Love “unclasp the hold and…destroy disease, sin, and death” (S19)? The Science & Health citations contain great directions for handling fear and witnessing healing. Look at citations S20-S23 and discuss the key ideas to hold on to when praying through a challenge.

PSST for Section 5

This is the second week in a row that we have read about Jesus walking on water. What does walking on water have to do with Love (B18)? What might have been going through Peter’s thought during this whole interaction? Peter was the only disciple who wanted to walk out and join Jesus. Are we willing to take the first steps in demonstrating something, even if we’re not completely ready? Jesus was right there to support Peter, just like the Christ, Truth is always with us, supporting us when needed. How are we following in Jesus’ footsteps (S24)? Are we following his example? Talk about citation S27. How did Jesus do what Mrs. Eddy describes in the last paragraph? How did Jesus support Peter’s feeble footsteps? How can you apply citation S28?

PSST for Section 6

What does it mean for God to “feed his flock like a shepherd” (B21)? What does a shepherd do that is similar to God’s love? Ask your class to read through citation S29. What inspiration do they find by reading Mrs. Eddy’s inserts into Psalm 23, rather than the original pronouns?

Do you use the synonyms for God when you pray?

*BGT is a combination of the BNT and LXT databases.

BNT – Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27h Edition. Copyright (c) 1993 Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.

LXT – LXX Septuaginta (LXT) (Old Greek Jewish Scriptures) edited by Alfred Rahlfs, Copyright © 1935 by the Württembergische Bibelanstalt / Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society), Stuttgart. Used by permission.

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