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PSST - PSST: Shine boldly together!

John Biggs, C.S., St. Louis, Missouri

[PSST: Shine boldly together!]
Possible Sunday School Topics
for
the Christian Science Bible Lesson on:
"Christian Science"
for December 30, 2012
by John Biggs, CS, Bend, Oregon
(+1 541 316 0809)  johnbiggscs@gmail.com

Good morning!  It’s such a pleasure to unite with you all as we live together Sunday School Alive and Church Alive.

Although this week’s lesson is on Christian Science, it’s NOT an exclusive lesson, that is only of interest to people who attend our particular denomination’s church!  Check out in the preface of Science & Health, on page xii, who Mary Baker Eddy committed these pages to. That commitment [“to honest seekers for Truth” (S24)] is also stated as the last citation in Section 5.  Is Christian Science an exclusive religion, only for a certain few who look and behave a certain way?  You might enjoy reading the lesson this week with a lens of appreciating the welcome, applicability, and healing Christian Science reveals to all. And, as you read the lesson with these qualities in mind, how can you really live them this week?

PSST for Golden Text – A grateful heart a garden is! (Hymn 3)
Have you given gratitude recently to God?  Go ahead and devote some time today (and every day!) just being grateful for God and any way in which you’ve seen His presence in your life.  Be willing to devote a moment to gratitude every single time you recognize the presence of God.

PSST for Responsive Reading – Don’t be shy about your love for God
One way you could read this Responsive Reading would be as an encouragement to be very loud and outgoing about Christian Science.  Well, perhaps in some moments and for some people, but isn’t it more important to be clear with the way you live your life?  Do we need to spend time trying to verbally convince people of the truths of Christian Science, or can we devote our lives to simply proving it step by step? Go ahead and give it a try this week and use your Sunday School class as an opportunity to share how you all are living these truths and not just talking about them.

PSST for Section 1 – The foundation is already set
It’s really important to understand that Christian Science is not some nice theory that a lady came up with in the 1800’s.  It’s not a prosperity gospel of trying to manifest and create good things into your life, and it’s not a self-help regimen.  It is the full revelation of the Science behind the leaders and prophets throughout the Bible, and the Comforter that Jesus spoke of, being with us forever.  It is the impersonal, all-embracing law and assurance of God’s nature as all good itself, and our status as the effect of divine good.  The Bible, as big or confusing as it may sometimes seem, is a story of God’s love for man, and how man has seen (or sometimes not understood) this love.  Citation B1 entreats us to ‘lift up thine eyes round about, and see.’  The more familiar we are with the Bible, the more we will see its relevance in every moment of our lives and we’ll see how we can keep moving forward with the timeless truths imparted in it.  I know that in my healing practice I’m learning how very important it is to make it clear (definitely for myself, and usually imparting to a patient as well) the Biblical foundation for the Christian Science treatment and anything we might share with each other.  It’s easy, when you’re on the phone or texting or emailing with someone asking for help, to spout off a lot of nice sounding things… but if we think we are making up stuff on our own and not diving into our Biblical foundation and its spiritual import and explanation as given in Science & Health, then we are just subtly reinforcing the belief of separation from God by thinking we have to come up with good stuff ‘all by ourselves.’  Let’s really love our Bible resources as timeless expressions of Love!  
[See Warren’s P.S. on Mrs. Ruth Huff’s Bible opening to “the way of holiness” (B-2, Isa. 35:8)]

In the spirit of diving into the resources at our disposal, I wanted to make sure you all knew about the online community which is entirely focused on diving into and living some of Jesus’ radical, healing teachings.  Christian Science is entirely based on what Jesus taught, and Radical Acts is a vibrant community of healing, support, and engagement with how we can truly follow his works and words. Many Sunday School classes have found a lot of inspiration in picking a Radical Act together to really live and follow through on, and have enjoyed sharing their experiences online with the world!  Perhaps you'd like to consider doing this too!

PSST for Section 2 – ‘God is no respecter of persons’ (Acts 10:34)
How willing are we to see each other – ALL of us – as the loved of Love?  Can we discard the limited lenses through which we so often see or hear others?  Citation B7 speaks of how Bethlehem is not great by human standards, but it was there that the Christ idea would be first fully seen.  Are willing to see and hear the Christ wherever we may be?

This section is of great import to Sunday School teachers and students, church members, and anyone with any interest in drawing out and nurturing the healer within all of us.  Are willing to see and live the facts stated in citation S7?  Or are we going to say, “This person would have a healing if only they’d do…”  Are we going to create darkness that others have to get through, or are we going to persist in seeing what God has made?  Obviously, we all have our own individual relation to God, as inseparable cause and effect, but we don’t need to put beams in our eyes that would keep us from seeing with God’s light.

Have you ever spent more time focused on what’s wrong with others than with healing your own thought about the situation?  TMCYouth has a beautiful, uplifting game (called Radical Acts/the Game) you can play wherever you are which inspires deeper thought and builds amazing bonds of trust and community with your companions.  One of the game cards (topical conversation starters) deals with the very question I asked above.  You might enjoy checking it out, and checking out the rest of the game as well!  If you need help exploring it, please feel free to email me anytime – I’d love to play it with you and your friends including your SS pupils!

Here’s a story of how someone learned to see God’s children, rather than reacting to mortal appearances.  Can you live these ideas this week and share with your class how it went?

PSST for Section 3 – Healing!
When I was little, I thought the word ‘divers’ in citation B9 actually referred to diseases that divers would get – you know, [like from doing a “belly flop”] off a diving board, or [like ‘the bends’] from scuba diving.  Since then I’ve learned that it’s just a variant spelling of ‘diverse.’  But what I’ve loved about this was that it didn’t matter to Jesus how weird or scary the disease or challenge appeared; he knew his foundation for healing was completely solid and so he could just see what God made.  Citation B10 starts right off with a recollection of how Jesus called his disciples together and sent them out to heal as well. Are we willing to respond to this call?  I often like to ask myself, “Am I available?”  The calls and examples in this section make me think of the amazing role model found in Isaiah 6:8.  “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, Here am I; send me.”  Right now, could you say, “Here I am!  Send me!”  If not, don’t get depressed.  Instead, let’s see how we CAN get to that point of feeling truly available to see God’s perfect work.  Here’s another card from Radical Acts/the Game which may help spark community conversation and support about this idea of being available to see what God has done.

This call is laid out very clearly in the citations from Science & Health as well.  Are we willing to drop pre-conceptions and follow the model laid out in citation S12?  This selfless, loving manner of treating and seeing others truly invites healing.  This is just one example of how seeing others correctly brought peace and healing to a family.  Again, how can we really live this, this week?

PSST for Section 4 – The joy of turning thought to God
Is the spirit of [“Break forth into joy” (B11, Isa. 52: 9. 10)] always close to your heart?  There may certainly be many times when there seems to be plenty of evidence that God is not present and that we have no reason to rejoice.  However, Christian Science reveals to the world the ever-present, ever-operative fact that God is present and could never be otherwise, for She is all.  An article from the Christian Science Sentinel which I have really enjoyed speaks about letting thought be shaped and shifted, and not relying on sense evidence to give us reason for or against rejoicing.  I hope you’ll enjoy it. 

Perhaps these assurances of God’s love, and of how loved we all are, may be too tough to really hear or understand, though.  Is God sitting around, tapping His toes, waiting for you to come back to Him – sitting there off in the distance till you are ready to listen?  Is God waiting to be allowed back into the schools, or into the workplace, and only then will we be able to hear Him?  [“the Spirit of truth… will guide you into all truth… and… shew you things to come” (B14, John 16:12, 13)] is a tender, comforting message to any of us who may believe those things are true.  God and the Christ message are impersonal, forever true and present, and we can trust “the Spirit of truth” to guide us no matter where we find ourselves mentally or physically.  Mary Baker Eddy elaborates on this for us in the loving and clear citations from Science & Health in this section.  Citation S18 [111:11] is a definitive illustration of the ever-presence of God.  We don’t need to fear the supposition of God’s absence!  You and your class might enjoy discussing how you can break through the mist when it does seem like God is somewhere else.

PSST for Section 5 – A message of love
Have you ever read Science & Health like it was a love letter?  You and your pupils might enjoy reading it like that – as a love letter direct for you!  This might also encourage your sharing of Science & Health; it’s easy to share a love letter!  This section elaborates on this idea, using beautiful imagery in the Bible passages to illustrate the joy of living and sharing what you’ve learned about the Science of Christianity.  Then in citation S23, we have an inspired statement of what Christian Science is [“that joy cannot be turned into sorrow…’”].  Does that statement or definition leave room for fear of others, for exclusivity, or reacting negatively to the exclusiveness of others? I’ve been enjoying reaching out to engage in ecumenical conversations with folks in my town, and recently I had an experience where I learned more about how to really listen and really see what God has done, rather than seeing us as inherently divided into two religious camps.  Of course the distinctions between faiths are important, but the community building that can come from seeing the fact of the Science of Christ as ever-present is truly remarkable.  I shared more of that story here.  And if you’d like to enjoy some conversation around this topic, you could give this card from the Radical Acts game a try.  All the cards include “On your own” sections, designed to inspire you to move forward and keep living it!  Give it a try – see how a greater sense of the beauty and allness of God’s nature illuminates this week. Then as you gather in Sunday School, share how you lived and shared the spirit of that 'on your own' and see how others have been sharing as well.

PSST for Section 6 – Shine!
[“Ye are the light of the world…” (B22)] holds the key thing.  The way we know we’re truly shining, is if thought always goes to God, and not to person.  Here's a whole Radical Act completely devoted to this topic - you might enjoy what others have shared, and please share your own experiences and insights!  Something that's so beautiful about light shining is that it just IS.  Lights don't vaguely shine; the sun doesn't sort of shine a bit and then go out.  Light is what happens when the sun exists!  Likewise, citation S25 declares: "Truth is revealed."  So let's live it!  We go on in citation S27 [“”…the spiritual idea… enables you to demonstrate with scientific certainty, the rule of healing…”] to discover that the presence, the already-active nature of Truth, allows us to be supremely humble.  It's the spiritual idea which enables us to demonstrate… it's not your own willpower, or a certain list of mortal qualifications… or even how old you are.  Just be willing to shine out as much you understand and love!  Citation S28 [“any student who adheres to the divine rules… can demonstrate Christian Science’] is deeply comforting in helping us remember that comparing ourselves to others is never helpful.  Don't be bothered if it seems like your friends, or other church members, or campers or counselors you've spent time with, seem to be progressing so much faster than you.  Likewise, don't spend any time worrying about the lapses people make.  I know it can be so disappointing when people we deeply love and respect mess up, or don't behave as we think they should.  Be willing to let go of that comparison and turn ever more steadfastly to divine Love to see how and who you are.  How can you support each other this week in not comparing or blaming?

It's a joyful thing to unite with others as we all shine together.  This is what is Sunday School, and camp, and church, are all about.  In fact, if you're a Sunday School teacher or staff member, I'm hosting weekly conference calls (starting again Tuesday, January 8) on behalf of TMCYouth which aim to nurture and embrace our global Sunday School community.  We're exploring how we can engage with daily Sunday School opportunities afforded in Radical Acts, and how broadly we can see and live Sunday School and church.  How can we break free of limits that say Sunday School (or camp, or church) are only for an hour, or a day, or a summer?  More information about these calls can be found here.  It would be truly wonderful to have you join in on the call!  Sometimes we meet by video conference and sometimes over the phone… please feel free to email me with any questions!

 

We have so many communities we can gather around, and share in, which are not delineated by lines keeping others out, but are graceful invitations to all, to see healing for everyone.  This Christmas season is of course a wonderful to do this, but can't we live the spirit of Christmas [and unselfish giving] every single day [like our Jewish and Muslim brethren have come together to give this season.]   Isn't the spirit of Christmas also crucial to Christian Science?  The more we can see that Christian Science is not a compartmentalized part of our life, but is actually the present revelation of divine Mind, the more confidently we can shine and appreciate others' shining as well.

 

This is a great day to dive into Christian Science…  looking forward to engaging with this Bible Lesson with you!  And let's see how we can truly shine together.

---
John Biggs, CS
Bend, Oregon
footstepsdrawingnear.com
541.316.0809


[Warren’s P.S. on citation (B-2, Isaiah 35):  The 35th chapter of Isaiah is forever cherished by every staff member at CedarS because CedarS Founder, Mrs. Ruth E. Huff, opened to this chapter at random when she asked God, ‘What is your purpose for the CedarS Camps?’  (CedarS Camps, Its Origin & Growth)  Ruth especially LOVED that God’s new name (alias) for CedarS and its Bible Lands Park is “the way of holiness”.( Isa. 35: 8)  The fun and effectiveness of “the way of holiness” is shown on “”Ruth’s Run”, a one-hour zipline tour of a biblical chronology of Answered Prayer (A.P.) History.]

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