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Find Peace in Understanding God

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, June 25th, 2012

Find Peace in Understanding God
Christian Science Bible Lesson Application Ideas for:
God
for June 25-July 1, 2012
By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S.
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
 
Peace. What a wonderful feeling. Peace is often viewed as quietness, stillness, tranquility, freedom from conflict, agitation, fear, or anxiety. Whatever definition one gives peace, it is definitely a state of being that is highly desired.  How is peace achieved?  Some find peace in solitude, or attempt to simulate it using artificial means, but the Scriptural passage used in the Golden Text promises that the most reliable avenue to peace is to be acquainted with God.
 
The Hebrew word rendered "acquaint thyself" means "to dwell" or, "to be familiar with." According to Albert Barnes, the passage spoken by Eliphaz to Job means, "Secure the friendship of God...be reconciled to Him [since] you are now estranged." As hard as people may try, they won't be able to find meaningful peace if they are alienated from or doubtful about God. [As Hymn 263 states: "Only God can give us peace."]
 
The Responsive Reading begins with Paul speaking to the Athenians. His intention is to introduce them to his God. In the King James Version of these passages it sounds like Paul is criticizing his audience, "Ye are too superstitious" but the New King James reads, " very religious."  Scholars note that Athens was the literary capital of the ancient world and highly cultured.  There were most likely scholars of all sorts present.  For Paul, this was a unique opportunity to voice his message to a broad range of listeners.  Aside from a host of statues and altars to a pantheon of Gods, the Athenians were said to have an extra altar to an "unknown God" so as not to offend a god they may have overlooked.  Some scholars think this inscription refers explicitly to the God of the Jews, whose name is not known and cannot be spoken.  The majority of gods worshipped in the ancient world had a somewhat narrow field of influence.  They could be considered "specialist" gods, i.e., one for the hunt, one for the sea, one for the crops, and another for the weather, and so on. The God Paul mentions is a universal, all-powerful Creator.  This God made all men of one blood, and could not be confined to any temple.  On the contrary, the reverse was true-all things were in and of Him.  Even in our time, this is quite a claim to make.  The world certainly appears to be in a constant state of turmoil and flux.  If one looks only at the present, outward state of things, he may understandably be living in a state of uncertainty about God.
 
Yet, long before Paul addressed the Athenians, the Hebrew people had been worshipping an all-powerful God for a long time.  The prophet knew that a mind fixed on God would necessarily and naturally be at peace.  The application of this precept is tried throughout this Lesson in a variety of circumstances.  Indeed, irrespective of one's circumstance, fixing one's mind on God is sure to bring peace.
 
Section 1: Defining Deity
The word "still" (B1) comes from the Hebrew râphâh, meaning to be slackened or relaxed. It's the opposite of tension and anxiety, or clenched fists that come when we're worried, afraid, or upset.  From the outset we see that when faced with a challenge, we can resist the temptation to take things into our own hands and force an issue, and just trust that God is in charge and that He will govern everything rightly.  Most of our anxieties are based on concern over repercussions of something that has already taken place, or simply worry about the future.  There is no "unknown" in the peace found in God.  Whatever the outcome, it will always be good because that's all God knows and that's all we need to expect (B2).  God is always providing strength and courage even when we aren't aware of it  (B3, Isa. 45, Hymn 444).  One of many great things about the book of Revelation is that it acknowledges that God is supreme and that all things were created by Him and for Him.  This impels a view of the future that includes victory over every evil (B4).  If you are tempted to be worried, or anxious over anything at all, it is a great help to remember that existence is not random-a roll of the dice.  We are created by, and for God, and His pleasure-so how can we expect anything other than good?
 
The citations from our textbook begin with: "God fashions all things after His own likeness" (S1).  Each synonym for God, each quality and attribute, is reflected in His creation. The definition of God found in the Glossary (S2) presents us with a view of God that leaves no room for doubt or anxiety over any situation we may encounter. In the Responsive Reading, Paul was eager to address both paganism-the worship of false gods; and agnosticism-the belief that nothing can be known of existence beyond material phenomena. It's not surprising that such views bring doubt and uncertainty. Christian Science makes all the difference in that it acquaints us with a view of God that establishes an ongoing, loving, intelligent relationship between God and man (S3). As our Leader writes, it is ignorance of God which produces discord in the first place, and a right understanding of him restores harmony (S4).
 
It's important to recognize that this is very different from popular trends regarding harmony.  For instance, there are those who promote the theory that discord (disease included) is a result of conflict either within one's self, or others-something is out of skew, i.e., we're judgmental or critical, or hateful; and that harmony is restored when we eliminate the conflict and either accept what's going on around us without fighting it, or stop resisting, and yield to some cosmic plan beyond our control. This is more of a Zen approach which promotes "acceptance" or yielding to that which we can do nothing about.  But in Christian Science, we only accept that which is good.  Also, the "Zen-like" approach of "acceptance" is focused on a personal sense of peace; whereas, in Christian Science that peace extends to the rest of the world. It's about getting a right understanding of God in order to restore harmony.  Discord is resolved not by accepting, or yielding to circumstances, but by knowing the truth about God, and letting God's presence force the error to yield.  Thus we achieve a spiritual apprehension-calm and exalted-unattainable any other way (S5).
 
Section 2: How Do You Conceive of God?
Moses wanted assurances that he would have support in his mission.  He asked God for some back up, to paraphrase: "You've given me this job and haven't told me who was going to help me, yet you said we were friends." (B5).  God answered, "My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest."  How is one to know that the presence of God is with him?  John answers that, knowing that even if we can't see God, we know God is with us by our love for mankind (B6).  The message to the Hebrews confirms this line of thought stating that if we are not peaceful with men we cannot see the Lord (B7).  And following after peace is not a passive activity; it means "to give chase as in a hunt."  In addition to being peaceful with men, we must follow holiness.  Holiness isn't something to seek only when times are rough; it's an ongoing way of life. It means: "That state of continual sanctification, that life of purity and detachment from the world and all its lusts, without which detachment and sanctity no man shall see the Lord" (Adam Clarke). Albert Barnes adds a characteristic sense of urgency to the passage: "Let us not deceive ourselves. We may have many things else - many things which are in themselves desirable, but without this one thing we shall never see the Lord in peace." Try living your day in true holiness, and see what happens.
 
When faced with big challenges, people tend to want others to back them up-some kind of support team. Similarly, we tend to turn to God in that way too, but we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking of God not as God, but as some sort of super-human "eye in the sky." Old theology promoted this mistake throughout the centuries, and Christian Science corrects it. Mrs. Eddy acknowledges that God is invisible to the senses, and is not a corporeal being. We need to know God spiritually (S6). Mythology and philosophy have historically thought of God as being manlike, but Christian Science reverses that and makes man Godlike (S7). Our Leader points out that praying to God as a corporeal person makes it very hard for us to grasp the infinite possibilities of a God who is Principle (S8). She also explains the progressive understanding of God throughout the course of biblical history (S9); and to take it even further, she breaks the long held belief of God as purely masculine, and opens thought to the feminine aspects of God's nature. Take some time to deeply consider how you think of God. Do you impose human traits and limitations to Him/Her? Or, do you let the divine idea transform your concepts?
 
Section 3: The "Still, Small Voice"
Humans tend to be drawn to the dramatic. They love spectacle and the bigger the display, the more they pay attention. In a way it's understandable that many expect God to make himself known by awesome displays of power and majesty. While there are definitely some pretty awesome displays of God's power to large audiences in the Bible, there are equally, and perhaps more impressive, demonstrations of quiet power and peace experienced by one individual. The psalmist knew the quietness and peace that comes with communion with God (B8). Elijah learned through experience. He was a participant in some fairly dramatic displays of God's power. His contest with the prophets of Baal was spectacular to say the least (see I Kings 18). But all the showmanship ended up endangering his life, so he fled to Mount Horeb. When questioned by God, he continued with the dramatics: "Everyone else is dead. I'm the ONLY prophet left!" There were actually still seven thousand prophets left, but Elijah was very wrapped up in his story. God directs him to go stand on the mount, and there he realizes that the Lord is not in the strong displays of nature, but in the "still, small voice" (B10).
 
Not understanding God's true nature, mankind still expects spectacular displays of God's power. In fact, philosopher David Hume points out that many of the religious rituals throughout the ages have been the designed to find ways to appease the unexplained destructive forces of nature. Again Mary Baker Eddy sets the record straight: "Spirit, God, is heard when the senses are silent" (S11). Rather than considering natural disasters to be displays of God's inexplicable power, we understand that these destructive events prove that our God, who is Love, has nothing to do with them. Instead they show the self-destructive nature of error (S12, 13). There have been many instances in which the understanding of God's allness has resulted in storms dispersed, and threatening conditions eliminated. We can pray in this way for the wildfires in the Western United States. Divine Mind is the only power and as we acknowledge it, we will see it proven (S14).  In the aftermath of natural disasters throughout the world during the past few years, we can see that the seeming destruction is met by the enduring power of the still, small voice (S15), in an outpouring of love and compassion for those in need.  Such a reflection of divine Love is more powerful than anything else.  The so-called "Acts of God" are not the disasters, but the loving response to help those afflicted.  In such cases, thousands of untold kindnesses meeting individual needs eclipse the seeming power of tragedy.
 
Section 4: The Peace of God Brings Dominion and Authority
There are storms and discords that seem to take place on a collective scale, and there are those on an individual level, but no less devastating.  God promises peace in all situations (B11).  Christ Jesus lived the holiness mentioned in Section 2 more naturally than anyone in history.  He exemplified reflection knowing that the Son can only do what he sees the Father do (B12).  The peace he had naturally, also brought blessing and healing to any picture of turmoil he faced.  It is recorded that once a man in a synagogue experienced a psychotic episode, which they believed to be demonic possession (B13).  In the presence of such a belief, it can certainly seem like possession because there seems to be no way in which to rationally communicate, or bring solace to the sufferer.  All the more amazing was Jesus' ability to heal that situation.  He spoke directly to the error, rebuking it and basically telling evil to "shut up."  Jesus' direction to "hold thy peace" meant to "be muzzled."  Remarkably, the error yielded, but not without one last burst of defiance, throwing the man in the midst.  But Jesus' command overruled the lie, and the man was healed and unhurt, much to the amazement of those standing by.
 
Mrs. Eddy acknowledged that Jesus' authority over evil came directly from God (S16).  It's interesting that she refers to the time in which Jesus lived as an "age of ecclesiastical despotism" -a time when the church ruled with absolute and sometimes arbitrary power (S17).  Note that the aforementioned healing took place in the synagogue.  No amount of humanly contrived rules and priestly authority could heal that man.  But Jesus' divine authority based on a spiritual understanding of "perfect God and perfect man" brought instantaneous results (S18).  Mrs. Eddy describes the method required in curing insanity (S19).  On more than one occasion she proved her ability to heal this claim.  I find her healing of a woman who thought she was being crushed by a huge snake, particularly telling.  She didn't try to reason with the woman, she simply handled the claim silently and asked the woman if the snake "had gone."  Becoming more forceful in each of three queries, the woman was healed. (See Mary Baker Eddy Christian Healer Amplified Edition pp. 154,155). Mrs. Eddy didn't heal that woman on her own, any more than Jesus did the lunatic.  She knew that God is the only Mind (S20).  We can't overcome inharmony-illness or otherwise-by will-power, or force.  We must yield to the understanding that God is the only Mind.  The peace that comes with that understanding dominates all sense of discord, and healing results.
 
Section 5: Peacemaking-One-to-One
So far, we've considered the peaceful effects of understanding God, in times of trepidation, histrionics, destructive forces in nature, and in mental illness.  Now we learn how to apply the peace of God in one-to-one relationships.  I hesitate to say "personal" because therein lies the difficulty.  The human personality tends toward selfishness.  It rarely takes correction gracefully, and often demands to go its own way.  The human personality isn't fond of rules.  The Jews were, at the time, breaking the rules which prohibited marriage to foreigners, so the prophet Malachi appeals to reason, "Why are we dealing treacherously with each other? Isn't God the Father of us all?" (B14).  Micah is likewise dismayed at the state of disarray within the family and turns to God for solace (B15).  New Testament writers continued to deal with difficulties in human relations.  James notes that these evils are the result of the individual succumbing to the lusts of the flesh which lead men away from godly peace, and that giving in to lusts was causing the church to turn on each other and fight amongst themselves (B16).  The author of Ephesians seeks a remedy by urging his listeners to stop their bombastic rhetoric and arguing, and treat each other with love, dignity, and respect (B17).  Of course, the simplest and most profound direction comes from the Master himself: "Blessed are the peacemakers" (B18).  A peacemaker is someone who wins without a fight; who doesn't stir the pot by complaining, or throwing the figurative gasoline onto the fire and watching the turmoil.  Everything he does promotes peace and harmony regardless of personal cost, or sacrifice.  He always works for the greater good.
 
Mrs. Eddy saw her share of in-fighting, disruption, and betrayal; and she recognized that while the immortal man is inherently harmonious, the so-called mortal is oftentimes a false friend (S21).  The only solution is to realize one Mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves (S22).  She cautions us as her biblical counterparts did, that selfishness leads to error and that every negative human tendency must yield to God.  She saw that we can't "extract error" by arguing with it or fighting evil with evil.  We have to wash it away "through flood-tides of love" (S23).  As noted earlier, so much of human reasoning is based on an enlarged sense of ego.  We're encouraged to be trail blazers and follow our bliss to happiness.  But Mrs. Eddy warns that human will "cooperates with appetite and passion" and leads only to trouble (S24).  The only path by which everyone will find peace is to yield personal sense and put our understanding of God into practice.  Finding our true bliss, our real happiness and peace, is found only through God.  [Hymn 263 again] When we realize that all men have one Father, we will work together as a divine family (S25).  Nobody will selfishly push their way into someone else's place; we will support each other's endeavors, and work together for the common good which brings peace and blessing to all.
 
Section 6: Peaceful Protection in Tumultuous Times
Now we move from the individual to society as a whole.  There is a general fear of things beyond one's control: of wars throughout the world, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, famine, disease, poverty.  We seem to have no way to avoid them.  Jesus tells us these events signify the coming of the Christ (B19).  Distress, or anxiety over these evils; and perplexity, confusion, and horror over them may cause "men's hearts to fail them for fear;" but our Master tells us that we need not fear, and that we should turn our gaze to God.  Isaiah encourages us with the assurance that the mountains shall sooner depart than God's love abandon us (B20).
 
The Discoverer of Christian Science warns us that we can't ever come to an understanding of God, "by diving into the shallows of mortal belief" (S26).  We all agree that it would be foolish and dangerous to dive into a shallow pool.  Yet, we still get lured into the belief that we can find out about God, or reality, by indulging in mortal theories.  Mrs. Eddy concedes that the world will falter.  But she tells us that those conflicts and dire circumstances signal the breaking up of material beliefs (S27).  Whatever turmoil the world may experience, those who are fully committed to God will not be harmed by the disruption around them.  In fact, they will remain unmoved and serene, and will be equipped to help the world by standing strong for truth and helping to eject error.  She says we will cheerfully await our "expected end"-"ultimate perfection."  So rather than letting ourselves get upset by world events, we will prove the benefit of our clear understanding of God, and bring that peaceful understanding to the whole world (S28).
 
Section 7: Knowing God Is Knowing Peace
There's a bumper sticker you may have seen which reads: "Know God-Know Peace; No God-No Peace."  In the Responsive Reading, Paul is attempting to inspire the pagans and agnostics to know God.  They were all very intelligent, but they loved to debate and held proudly to their different positions.  Now in Isaiah, we have the prophesy of a time when all people are eagerly looking to God together; and wanting to "walk in his paths" (B21).  When everyone is working toward the same end, it's natural that peace will be the result.  In this holy condition, there will be no more wars or destruction of any kind.  There will be no need to impose upon, or entreat anyone to turn to God, for they will all "be full of the knowledge of the Lord" (B22).  The result of this understanding of God will be oneness with Him and we shall all find peace (B23).
 
Mrs. Eddy promises that having one God, will eliminate all the ills of the world (S29).  Do you think that's a dream?  Or, too good to be true?  As we've been saying all along, we will never reach that point through human philosophy, or intellectual reasoning; by force or ecclesiastical despotism.  We can only reach that goal by living spiritually, in a sanctified and holy way (S30).  There is just no other way to reach that "unspeakable peace" spoken of by our Leader. So why waste time looking anywhere else?  Do everything you can to know God-and be at peace.
[PSST: Know God to Know Peace]
Possible Sunday School Topics (PSSTs) by Merrill Boudreaux
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for July 1, 2012 on
"GOD"
[bracketed italics by Warren Huff, Editor]
 
PSST: Golden Text: Ask students, "How have you come to know God?" Perhaps get at a deeper response by asking them to complete this phrase, "God is like...."
 
PSST: Responsive Reading: Since God is with us, God is present in every moment of our lives. God knows us. Ask students to spend a few minutes observing all around themselves. How do they see God as Presence? What ideas around them indicate the active presence of God?
 
PSST: Section 1: Stillness is to be desired. Ask students to be still and on a 3 x 5 card write down what God is saying to them. Read aloud together Hymn 237 from the Christian Science Hymnal. See also citation B8 in section 3 of the Bible lesson. ["God the Lord will speak...peace unto his people, and to his saints." Ps. 85:8]
 
PSST: Section 2: By what name would God call you? [Maybe "Hawkeye" because of your ability to see God clearly as you "follow peace with all men, and holiness." (B7, Hebr. 12:14)]
 
PSST: Section 3: Read aloud the Bible story in citation B10. What was God's message to Elijah? How was God revealed to Elijah? As a still small voice. B10. What experiences does God send to us? (Jer. 29: 11 - 14). What do you think "hand of the Lord" means? Could it be presence of God in all our affairs? [I felt the "hand of God" this week after midnight when I "dashed my foot against a stone" and fell down a flight of stairs in the dark, only to land on my feet at the bottom of the stairs with a humble "wow, thank you, God" feeling of protection and peace!]
 
PSST: Section 4: What does the word peace mean? Freedom from disturbance, quiet, tranquility, mental calm, serenity, freedom from or the cessation of war or violence. Ask students to select a place where there is conflict or war in their world and then write out a Christian Science prayer treatment asserting and affirming that peace is present. See citation B11. Why can you, as the son, or child of God, make such an affirmation? See citation B12, "The son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the father do..." Where do you get your authority? S16.
 
PSST: Section 5: What is God's prayer for Her children and Her universe? ["Let all bitterness...be put away from you with all malice",] B17. Why is this so? ["Have we not all one father?"] B14. Are you a Peacemaker? Ask students to share an experience about how they were a peacemaker. See also B18. This would be a good opportunity to review all of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. What is a floodtide? A powerful surge or flow of something, an overwhelming quantity. What is your most powerful ally when overcoming evil thoughts about someone or something? ["The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love."] S23 (line 17-18). See also ["Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching. Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way..."] S&H 454: 17.
 
PSST: Section 6: Is the kingdom of God at hand? Where then do you dwell? Where then does every other person, creature, idea dwell? See S&H 587: 25, ["HEAVEN. Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul."] Please read all of the S&H portion of this section. What is your role in this conflict as a Christian Scientist? Is the outcome assured? ["cheerfully await the certainty of ultimate perfection."] S28, S29.
 
PSST: Section 7: What are the strong action words in citation S29? unifies, ends, fulfils, annihilates, equalizes, annuls. How do you attain the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven? Beware, this is a trick question. Look around you; it's already here, there, and everywhere. See Psalm 119:18 "open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy Law." Read or sing aloud together Hymn 444 from the Christian Science Hymnal Supplement.

[PYCL: Act out being "pleased to make your acquaintance, God!"]
CedarS PYCLs--Possible Younger Class Lessons for:  
"
God"
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for July 1, 2012
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041
 
 [PCYL Overview: What are your pupils' favorite Bible stories about God?]
This is a great lesson to work on with kids!  Make sure they notice what the subject is and ask them what they think a lesson about God would contain.  It might be fun to have them work together to come up with a lesson of their own (abbreviated of course) that they think tells them about God.  Do they know any Bible stories that they think a lesson about God would contain?  They may shout out any random stories they know like Noah and the Ark.  Go with it and talk together about what that story, for example, tells us about God.  Is there a special name or synonym for God that the story of Noah helps us to see?  Do they know other names/synonyms for God?  Why does Mrs. Eddy name these synonyms?  Are they also in the Bible?  (You should have some examples handy to share and reasons why something like Principle might be harder to find in the Bible, etc.).  You may then want to go through the new Quarterly and have them look at upcoming lessons.  Are there some synonyms coming up?  Why did Mrs. Eddy design subjects with one about "God" and then a bunch that are synonyms for God?
 
 [PCYL Golden Text (G.T.): Act out "pleased to make your acquaintance"-& be at peace.]
Look together at the G.T and ask what "acquaint" means.  Have the littler ones shake hands with their neighbor and say "pleased to make your acquaintance".  When you meet a new friend at school, how do you go about getting to know them?  Do you play with them for awhile, dig in the sandbox, see if they like cars too, or dolls?  Ask them what they think it means to be acquainted with God.  We probably can't actually dig in the sandbox with Him, but how can we get to know Him no matter what we are doing? How can we get to know God better if we are on a bike ride, for example?  If we were on a walk with a friend and we got lost, would we be as scared as we would be when we are alone?  How can we understand better that we cannot be alone when we see that God is with us always?  We can see an example of this in one of the kid's favorite hymns set to Mrs. Eddy's poem "Feed My Sheep".  Notice that they use the word "peace" in this same passage.  The lesson is full of different examples of peace.  How does knowing or being acquainted with God make us feel peace?  Can they come up with examples of what this peace might mean?
 
 [PCYL on Bible events that turned turmoil into peace.]
Now that we are discussing peace, how about looking through the Bible stories together and seeing how many different kinds of peace are in the lesson.  Many times kids may think of peace in terms of fighting or not fighting.  Can they tell what a "peaceful thought" might be?  What kind of peace was Moses looking for in section 2.  Talk about what it might feel like to be Moses, to be asked seemingly out of the blue to lead the Children of Israel out of captivity.  If you weren't already a "famous" leader, just a regular guy, wouldn't you want some kind of assurance that God was really going to "pull this thing off"?  What was Elijah's turmoil?  You will need to give them the back story here.  Where was he expecting to "see" God?  Where did he actually find God to be present?  In section 3 you have the healing of the insane man.  How is this an example of the peace of knowing God?  Look at how the man says "I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God."  What does that mean that a "crazy" man knew who Jesus really was?  The 5th section has the more traditional, kid-known, definition of peace.  But make sure they are seeing that we are talking about interpersonal relationships here and not just "war" and "battle".  The 6th section has the "acts of God" stuff.  Talk about what they mean here.  You can bring in some current affairs with the older kids or some healing examples from your life that deal with fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.  And finally in the 7th you can look at the beautiful passage about making our weapons of war into tools for sustaining humanity.
 
 [PCYL Responsive Reading (R.R.): How can we get our thoughts to always "stay" on God?]
In the R.R there is that passage: "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You".  Talk about what it means to have your "mind stayed" on God.  How can we get our thoughts to "stay" on God when things seem challenging?  Can you share examples of some time when you were successful at that and it brought peace and healing?  There are so many of these times even day to day and they would learn much to hear the seemingly insignificant as well as more "impressive" examples.  Remember we want them to see how God is active all the time in their lives, not just when some big event occurs but when any little thing is going on, so there is no such thing as a "small" or less important example here.  What we all really want is that constant peaceful presence that comes from being always "acquainted" with God!  Can you all come up together with a sort of cue word that you can use silently or aloud in our lives to remind us to keep our thoughts "stayed" on God?
 
 [PCYL on a stillness contest]
It may seem obvious to us now, but you may want to look at the familiar passage in B1 "Be still, and know that I am God;"  What does the Psalmist mean by "be still"?  Try out "being still" with the littlest ones.  Take out a stop watch and time them and have a contest to see who can be still the longest.  Don't be too picky!  Then talk about stillness of thought.  Can you be still in thought and still be running down a path?  Can you be still in thought and jump on a trampoline?  Can you be still in thought and at the same time fight with your brother or sister?  Can you know God and at the same time be crazy and disobedient or mean, etc.? What do they think is the link between "stillness" and "knowing" God?  Notice citation S5 tells us that divine Science helps us see God and His harmony.  Can they tell you how?  Do they see that C.S explains lots of things about God, like the names it gives and how these names help to define His/Her nature.
 
 [PCYL on naming God's Motherhood and on women characters in the Bible]
Maybe your class would be interested in Mrs. Eddy's statement in citation S10 about how God is more easily understood as "feminine".  Why do they think she said that?  Does that mean that boys can't be like Love?  Or are we talking feminine qualities, rather than gender?  (They may not know that word).  Can they list qualities that are God-like?  Why do we most often refer to God as "Him" rather than "Her"?  Should we do it differently?  (This is more or less just an historical sort of question, just an interesting note about the dominance of men in history).  Look at the characters in the Bible.  Can they think of any that are women?  Hopefully they will be able to at least think of Ruth and Jesus' mother, Mary, maybe the older ones will remember Esther.  You could decide to do a little project and look for important women in the Bible in coming weeks.  Some might be, Hannah, Abigail, another Mary, Miriam and you can probably think of others.  Discuss how these women help to define the nature of God more fully.  Think of the mothering qualities that many of these women expressed.  What does that say about God?  Maybe your class can share their findings with the Sunday School sometime in the future after you have done this research together.
 
 [PCYL on what the Bible stories portray about God.]
There are several stories that would be fun to discuss this week in the light of understanding God.  Certainly they would love how God is defined in the story of Elijah on the mount, as we mentioned earlier.  What about the nature of God is portrayed here?  Not only the idea that He is present not in chaos, but in a "still small voice", but also that He speaks to us and answers our questions and helps us overcome despair and a sense of isolation and loneliness.  See if any details of this story bring out a new understanding of God and His/Her nature.  Try putting this same test to the story of the insane man in the next section.  Maybe they are not familiar with mental troubles but you could describe it in terms of someone whose thinking doesn't work well.  How might it seem harder to reach a person whose thinking isn't working?  What does Mrs. Eddy say about this kind of healing?  (S19)  What does this story tell us about God?
 
 [PCYL on finding what is loveable in all and how to make them feel like part of your family.]
 
Finally, you can talk about citation B14 and what it means that we all have one Father (Mother)? What does that say about everyone?  (Sisters, brothers, etc.)  What does that say about different beliefs and religions and opinions and likes and dislikes?  If we are related, we tend to be more forgiving and to make more of an effort at overcoming differences because we have to live with our family.  Can we think in these terms about those we come into contact with?  Can we think about our Father/Mother and look to Her to find out what is loveable about our friends?
 
Happy Sunday and Happy July!
 

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