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Give of God's Abundant Riches

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Give of God's Abundant Riches
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Substance" for September 3-9, 2012
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer (kathyfitzer@gmail.com)
 
[These application ideas from a recent CedarS Camps' Resident Christian Science Practitioner are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons daily throughout the year, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free -- by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in French, thanks to Pascal & Marie-Helene; in German, thanks to Helga and Manfred; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of fun approaches & possible ways to teach lesson ideas to older and to younger Sunday School classes at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters  Enjoy! Warren Huff, CedarS Director & editor of these notes with bracketed additions.]
 
What are we really talking about when we talk about "substance"? Webster's dictionary of 1828 defines substance as "that which really is or exists; the essential part; something real." It comes from the Latin, substans, prp. of substare "stand firm, be under or present," from sub "up to, under" + stare "to stand." Putting "under" and "stand" together, we get "understand." A more modern Webster's dictionary includes this definition -- "Christian Science: GOD." So, what happens if we think of substance as an understanding of God, rather than "physical matter," as dictionary.com has as its first definition?  Rodale's Synonym Finder starts out with such synonyms as "matter, stuff, body." Quite a contrast! This week's Lesson makes it clear that Mind is the essence (the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality) of all things. Try reading the lesson with an eye on understanding more clearly that what really constitutes reality, worth, and riches (i.e. substance) isn't material stuff, material resources, or a material body. Instead, it is God -- "infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation." [S&H 468] Now, that's freeing!
 
Golden Text: Notice how the Golden Text ties "riches" with wisdom and knowledge. For better or worse, we often think of substance (if thought of as how much we have) in connection with riches, i.e. wealth or money. But, the phrase "riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God" more correctly associates true wealth with ideas. Ideas (images of thought) can't be drained, lost or destroyed. And, when ideas (wisdom and knowledge) are associated with God, they must always be good! This translation from the Contemporary English Version shows the limitless nature of the substance of ideas -- and the undiminishing value of them -- stemming from Mind: "Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God?"

Responsive Reading: Do you think it is a big allowance, a good job, the stock market, an inheritance, the lottery or some other game of chance, or even a strong material body that will make you rich? Maybe, at some level. The problem is that all of these things include a down-side. All of the good they promise can also be lost -- or cause strife in some way. But, look at this promise at the end of the Responsive Reading.... "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." Think about "rich" as not only enough money to meet your needs, but as it is defined as "of great value or worth." God has made each of us complete ... not one better than another, or having more than another. But, each having just what we need to deal with whatever human situation we find ourselves in. That includes having sufficient talents, as well as funds, such as problem-solving skills, intellectual capacity, social grace, strength, flexibility, ingenuity, etc. to fill our niche without feeling any sense of inadequacy in any area. What does it take to realize these riches? Seek God, watch for Her presence, hear and obey His instruction, follow His leadings, love Her, and recognize the goodness of God that has existed forever -- without fluctuation.
 
Section 1: Seeing and knowing the riches of God
The words of the Psalmist assure us that "the earth is full of [God's] riches." (B-1) What is this earth? According to the glossary in Science and Health it is "a type of eternity and immortality, which are likewise without beginning or end."  Mrs. Eddy goes on to say, "To material sense, earth is matter; to spiritual sense, it is a compound idea." Does that mean there are two earths (two realities) -- one made of (and containing) limited material elements and resources, and the other constituted of infinite ideas? Absolutely not! There is one earth -- one Life -- full of God's riches. The only thing that needs to be adjusted to see those ever-present riches is our view! We can help reverse what appears to be an energy shortage -- or any other belief of limited resources -- by aligning our view of the earth and all that inhabits it with GOD'S view. Granted, God seems to be invisible, but Paul tells us that the invisible things are clearly seen as we understand (true substance) "his eternal power." (B-2) Obedience to the first commandment (B-6) requires us to "walk by faith, not by sight" (B-3) and focus on the eternal things that are not seen with the material senses, rather than on the temporal things that are seen. (B-4)  It requires that we acknowledge only Mind -- rejecting the suggestion of matter or little "minds" as substantial. (S-3)  How do we see what can't be seen with the eyes, i.e. Spirit? As Mrs. Eddy says, it's either through human conjecture or by the revelation of divine Science. (S-1)  Human conjecture is changeable opinion.  Science is provable and changeless, and reveals the essence of being (substance) to be "eternal and incapable of discord and decay." (S-5) No decaying economy (or checkbook balance), sense of worth, relationships, or bodily functions/parts. Where any of that may appear, apply the rules of Science (the law of the one, omnipotent, harmonious God) and undecaying, consistent good is seen where it appeared to be absent!
 
Section 2: What are our priorities? What are we laboring for?
Is having a lot of money a bad thing? Is having a lot of money a good thing? To my way of thinking, how much money one has isn't a good OR bad thing. This section of the Lesson seems to me to be talking about the value placed on material riches -- not the riches themselves. The advice in Proverbs is not to work to be rich -- wrong motive! (B-7) As has been seen all too often, material riches can be lost. And, if these riches are believed to be the source (or measure) of one's happiness, worth, and security, then these go down the drain with the "riches." So, what DOES last.... what is the substance that can't be lost, and that always satisfies? Qualities of thought and the action that ensues from these thoughts. Examples given in this section include: "godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness expressed in "good works," being "ready to distribute" (or give), and "willing to communicate." (B-8) The promise???? If we focus on reaching out to others -- truly caring about others -- God will guide us continually (without interruption) and make our lives "like a spring of water." (B-9) A spring doesn't dry up; and everything around it (touched by it) flourishes. That being the case, there would no longer be the "haves" and the "have-nots" (the rich and the poor.) But, everyone would be supplied by God with just what they needed. "Let worth be judged according to wisdom." (S-10) God gives wisdom (a.k.a. spiritual understanding) to all of His children. As we accept and exercise that wisdom, we will have all we need. We are told that "a great sacrifice of material things must precede this advanced spiritual understanding." (S-11) To sacrifice is "to surrender or give up ... for the sake of something else." So, as we stop putting importance on what material things (whether it's money or something about our physical body) we have -- or don't have -- and think more about expressing God's qualities, we will discover the permanent, unwavering gifts of good that Love is already providing... which can take form in hidden talents discovered, rich relationships developed, and human needs met. Money then becomes just one more example of God's goodness, but never the goal for which we are striving.
 
Section 3: Cheerful giving
Nothing brings more joy or does more to build us up than unselfed, cheerful giving. I was unfamiliar with the Bible story in this section about the priest, Jehoiada, and the rebuilding of the temple that had been destroyed during the reign of a "wicked" queen named Athaliah. Athaliah was the only ruler in 400 years who was not a descendent of King David. She was King Ahab's daughter who was completely opposed to the Hebrew God and determined to destroy the faith of the Hebrew people. She ordered all male heirs of the Davidic line killed, but Jehoiada was able to help hide a baby named Joash. At a very young age, Joash assumed the throne and, influenced and guided by Jehoiada, ordered the rebuilding of the temple.   The people rallied and supported the building with their monetary contributions. There was a specification in the Torah that called for a tax to be paid by the people in support of the temple. But, this story emphasizes that the people gave, not because it was expected, but out of a sense of love and joy. (B-11 & B-12)  Certainly, this is the model we see followed centuries later at the time The Mother Church was built. In both cases, there was a pouring forth of great abundance and the building went forward without delay. This unity of purpose and action is referenced by Paul, where he speaks to the Colossians about being called "in one body" and being "thankful." (B-13) Isn't gratitude the purest motive for cheerful giving? As we give (and that's not just money -- but the giving of compliments and encouragement, inspiration, knowledge, time, talents and love,) building takes place. A sound temple (body) is built. (S-13)  This temple may be seen as a church, a physical (so-called) body, a school body, team body, community body, etc. We're told that "giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us." (S-12) Why not? Because it all belongs to God! We can't do anything ourselves. All good (all substance, intelligence, wisdom, being, cause and effect) belong to God .... so good never runs out or is exhausted. (S-15) Translate what appears to be things into the ideas of infinite good, and we can wisely give and give -- knowing there will always be enough. God will direct our giving. We can trust that direction!

Section 4: You are linked to God with Spirit, Mind being the only substance!
One definition of substance reads: "that of which a thing consists; physical matter or material:" (dictionary.com) Jesus' teaching and example clearly proves the falsity of the second part of this definition. He healed (absolutely reversed) the false reports of the body, claiming substance to be material, subject to decay and disease.  Jesus understood, taught, and demonstrated that man consists of Spirit, of the fullness of Mind. The suppositions of matter have nothing to do with man's substance, because man can't be separated from God!  The Jews wanted to know if Jesus was the promised Messiah.  But, they wouldn't accept his answer: "The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. I and my Father are one." (B-16) Accepting that oneness of God and man is key to our following Jesus' example and understanding that we, too, are "linked by Science to [our] Maker." Suppose you have the choice of living in one of two houses. One was made like a fun-house with slanted floors and walls, distorted and colored glass in the windows, dimly lit and full of strange images. The other was well-built, strong and straight, clear windows and lots of light. You don't have to "change" the fun-house. You just have to choose to not live there and enter the well-built house instead. We read in Science and Health, "mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship." (S-18) Turn from the false sense of substance as matter as naturally as you would turn from living in the "fun-house." Through understanding that Ego (identity) "is Mind instead of body" you can safely abide in the "well-built house" of Spirit and experience the sense of substance that corresponds to your "sonship with God." (S-17)

Section 5: ABUNDANT supply for ALL
This section (with the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000+) reverses the suggestion that because substance is limited, there will always be the "haves" and the "have-nots." One might think: was it right to take from the one person in the crowd who came prepared with food?  Certainly, the parable of the ten virgins delivers the strong message of the need to bring your own "oil" and not depend on others. But, in this case, everyone there had followed Jesus because they had witnessed his healing, believed in him, and wanted to know more. Right motives.  AND, it was a teaching opportunity. (B-17) Physical healing resulted through Jesus' understanding that substance is Spirit. Spirit knows no limits; ideas in Mind are easily multiplied.  Try multiplying something in your thought; it's as easy to think about 20 boats instead of just one, right? So, the boy wasn't being deprived of anything.... he had plenty to eat, just like everyone else! And, in gathering the fragments, perhaps Jesus illustrated the importance of valuing the smallest indications of God's supply, taking nothing for granted, and wasting nothing Let's be sure we really take to heart the statement, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." (S-20)  ALWAYS! EVERY! And, if Divine Love is the supplier, there is no deprivation of one to give to another. "In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all ..." (S-22) Nothing is impossible. When there is an apparent need, respond as Jesus did.... give thanks to God (acknowledge Mind, Love, as the source) and start multiplying what is at hand.
 
Section 6: Substance is not in matter to be destroyed -- believe it!
Put yourself in Thomas' shoes. Would you take the word of your friends if they told you something that seemed utterly impossible... such as, Jesus wasn't dead??? Or would you need to see it for yourself?  How often do we hear and read of others' healings, but continue to judge by outward appearances -- still think in terms of a material body -- still wonder if it is really possible for US to be healed.  We may wonder, "Am I REALLY spiritual, rather than material? I suppose so.... but can I really trust this to be true when the material evidence is so stacked against it?" But, when we experience healing for ourselves... or witness a healing first hand... like Thomas, we acknowledge the reality of spiritual substance, and embrace the "spiritual individuality" of man as truly tangible. (S-25)  Of one thing we can be certain, as Christ Jesus met Thomas where he was, patiently showing him his unchanged body, the Christ meets us where we are in our understanding... showing us whatever we need to see in order to sufficiently understand and accept our spiritual nature, and thus experience healing.  Thomas went on to preach Christ far and wide... some believe he covered a greater geographical area than any of the 12 disciples. Once he saw evidence of the resurrection for himself, he freely shared the good news. Jesus‘appearance in the flesh after he was crucified show that Life (substance) has never been in a material body, and thus cannot be destroyed by material conditions. Do we, like Thomas, have to see physical evidence before we'll accept that "the I -- the Life, substance, and intelligence of the universe -- is not in matter to be destroyed"? (S-24)  Whether we do, or do not need to see for ourselves, divine Science gives us no choice but to ultimately embrace this fact and let our bodies express our God-given spiritual freedom.  Jesus referred to his body as a temple. What a great way to think of ourselves and our bodies... "the idea of Life, substance, and intelligence; the superstructure of Truth; the shrine of Love." (See section 3, cit. S-13) So, when you don't feel well, or you're not happy with how you look, don't get mad or impatient with your body, or want to get rid of it. Embrace your identity as a shrine (a place regarded as holy because of its associations with a divinity -- dictionary.com)  Think of it as the expression of Love, through which nothing but loveliness can be expressed. As your knowledge of yourself "transcends mortal vision," you will recognize your spiritual nature -- untouched by the limitations of matter. (S-26)  You will believe!

Section 7: The substance of devotion
Why do we worship?   Why do we go to church?   To punch our clock, because it makes us feel good, or because it's what we're supposed to do? Not as good a reason as going to feel the power and presence of the Holy Spirit that is the animating force of all good works and all healing. We're told, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power." (Acts 10; B-22) Mrs. Eddy defines Holy Ghost as "Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love." It is the authority of God -- that Jesus expressed so completely -- that enabled him to heal as he did. As Paul established churches in his missionary work, he prayed that those with whom he spoke would "be strengthened with [God's] Spirit in the inner man." He knew, that if they felt the authority of the same Spirit from which Jesus received his authority, they would be firmly planted -- "rooted and grounded in love" -- and not easily swayed by the aggressive testimony of the physical senses and material reports. (B-23) Mrs. Eddy says that "Jesus established his church... on a spiritual foundation of Christ-healing" and "that his religion had a divine Principle, which would cast out error and heal both the sick and the sinning." (S-28) Church is more about activity than place. It is something that is carried in our hearts and expressed in our lives. We go to church to gather together to support one another and share in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But, then we must take our church and live in accord with the Principle that animates all good works and enables (and demands) the activity described in the second part of the definition of Church from Science and Health. (S-29) As we see that Love is giving to each of us "might, immortality, and goodness," we'll let that shine through us and we will delight in seeing "our brother's need" and supplying it. (S-30) In the process, we will realize the blessings of true devotion and see evidence of the abundance of spiritual substance everywhere!

[The College Summit at The CedarS Camps over Labor Day weekend was a wonderful event attended and supported by over 300 wonderful new and old friends from all over the world!  The awesome fruitage shared last night from lives-changed will have ripple effects for decades to come in the lives, churches and communities of all who came.  Many thanks to many dear friends who have already united with us to subsidize and sponsor this event! If you would like to back CedarS with a love gift of however much divine Love impels you to give to help meet the $3,000 in extra expenses still remaining to be covered to break even, just click The CedarS Camps or mail your gift to the address at the end. To see pictures and interviews from the Summit click on http://time4thinkers.com/summit-events/collegesummit12/ ]
 
 

[If you couldn't come to CedarS for the College Summit weekend, can STILL come on this coming "weekend" (Sep. 6-9) to experience CedarS Bible Lands Park and attend the Midwest Bible Conference sponsored by Bible Studies Seminars.   You'll be inspired by talks and workshops given by an amazing group of Christian Science class-taught, Bible scholars.  You can stay in a single (for $340 per person), shared, or triple/quad room with a private bathroom or choose a cabin with a bathroom for $200 per person.  All housing prices include meals, snacks, meeting rooms, and activities.  Linens are included for ALL housing options chosen for this Conference. Enjoy camp activities during free time and great meals catered by restaurateur Vicki Wolfe and her talented friends. The theme for the 2012 Midwest Bible Conference is:  "Healing and the Kingdom of God."  Tentative Conference Schedule for Thursday, September 6 through Sunday, September 9 includes: a Thursday evening, Multi-Media Theme Presentation - "Healing and the Kingdom of God"; Bonfire, S'mores, Hot Chocolate, and Singalong; Four Friday TED Talks - (focused presentations that do not exceed twenty minutes in length) followed by brief question and answer sessions; concurrent breakout sessions after Friday lunch that will be interactive and allow individuals to choose the sessions that most speak to their own interests; a Friday evening Screening and Discussion of Fambul Tok:  a film about the power of forgiveness in the wake of Sierra Leone's brutal civil war; a Saturday morning Bible talk by Madelon Maupin on "Taking a Deep Dive into the Book of Ephesians:  How to Study and Unpack Its Lessons, with a Focus on the Difficult Passages"; Saturday's extended World Cafe Lunch and Discussions with three-course world cafe discussion of the ideas presented and our response to them in a mix of people at each table that changes with each courses and set of new questions to discuss; Saturday afternoon free time for Fellowship, Recreational Offerings, or Personal Time; Saturday evening Panel Discussions followed by Groups Sharing; Sunday Christian Science Service ; Sunday early departure or lingering until 4:00 pm to enjoy the facilities, Bible Lands Park and its fun and educational Time Traveler ziplines and trails, lake and waterfront activities... If you have any questions about the program please contact Dick@BibleStudySeminars.com or 636.207.7392. Enroll today online for the Bible Conference at www.biblestudyseminars.com ;  for housing at http://www.cedarscamps.org/information/programs.htm?id=40 ]
 
 [Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 11-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in subsequent emails.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-30). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]
 
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[PYCL:  Get fit quick by turning to Spirit, God.]
CedarS Possible Younger Class Lessons and Possible Sunday School Topics for:  
"
Substance"
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for September 9, 2012
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041 [Bracketed titles by Warren Huff, with {PSST additions} by Heather Libbe, C.S.]
 
 [PYCL:  Discuss why substance was chosen as a subject. Was it partly to help us feel loved?]
There are some fascinating ideas about substance to focus your instruction on this week.  First cover what that word means.  In many ways I see this lesson more clearly this time around as Mrs. Eddy's statement of the tangible nature of God's love or Love for us, shown of course most clearly through the life of Christ Jesus.  So maybe you could talk a little about why she might have chosen this subject, maybe to help us feel Love (among other things!)

 [PYCL -- Golden Text (G.T.): Be a fit individual of substance, living without fear.]  The Golden Text speaks of wealth in terms of how well we know God.  Why might our knowledge of God be equated with riches?  Have the readers in your group search for all the uses of the word riches and money and so on in the lesson, also any place like the loaves and fishes where "wealth" is demonstrated in a different way.  Kids aren't generally thinking a lot about money, but it is an interesting subject to explore with questions such as: why is "...the love of money the root of all evil..."?  Don't let it go with simply answering that money is matter and that's not substance...  We do seem to need money to exchange for goods just now.  What is the writer of that passage actually admonishing against?  Notice he uses the word "love" there?  What's the flip side of "love"?  What about fear?  Should we ever be afraid of what money, or a lack of it can do to us?  What does the lesson tell us is the true substance of wealth?  I have enjoyed citation S11 especially in pondering this question.   She points out that "Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers." She then talks about "Trustworthiness" being the foundation of enlightened faith. The opposite of enlightened faith might be blind faith. So in this case I think trustworthiness might be referring to demonstration.  It is demonstration that gives us an enlightened understanding of God (remember the G.T?).  God's wealth of love, expressed by meeting our needs, is gained through our practice and demonstration of Truth.  This demonstration comes through embracing this self-forgetfulness, purity and affection!  These get us "fit" for holiness.  (And here we thought we had to go to the gym for fitness...). You can also touch on the lack of fulfillment that matter presents to us.  Our deepest desires for love, wisdom, strength of mind and even body, beauty and so on can only come through a genuine understanding of substance and the nature of God and man as reflecting the Divine substance. (S9)
 
[PYCL - Section 1:  Obeying the 1st Commandment precludes worshiping or fearing money.]
Section 1 contains the 1st Commandment and that's always a welcome subject for Sunday School.  See what the kids think about how it relates to the subject.  How does it relate to seeing God and His image (S1)?  You could talk about how we feel when we are thinking of God (worshiping Him).  Usually at such times we are far less concerned with matter (non-substance). And, of course, worshiping God precludes worshiping or fearing money (see above).
 
[PYCL -- Section 2-6:  Share examples of the coinage of the Kingdom & how it meets needs.]
For the littler classes along with the First Commandment you could bring in some "coins", large fake ones or maybe those chocolate ones that are often available at Christmas.  Even wooden blank discs would be useful because you could write on them the substance of an idea that they might represent to us.  Section 2 gives us the suggestion that we be "rich in good works...".  What does that look like to them?  Each age group might answer this differently.  This could lead to a service type project where the class together prayerfully decides how their light can "...rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day..." (B9)  What does all that mean anyway? Prior to that it talks of 'drawing out our soul to the hungry and satisfying the afflicted soul'.  Would it be helpful for the kids even some of the younger classes to work together from the standpoint of the substance of wealth being qualities of tenderness, nurturing, upholding, etc., and think about how they can use these qualities as a class in the wider community?  This may not be your thing and that's fine, but it could lead to a deeper, memorable understanding of how Love can meet the human need.  Of course there are dozens of ways that this could transpire, from soup kitchen work to food or clothing drives, to seeing if the church's own care committee needs the help of a Sunday School class.  Maybe it's just seeing any need and fulfilling it.  That would be for the class to come to through their own prayers.  The important idea being the substance that is being expressed.  Section 2 is not the only place where these works are mentioned. In Section 3 citation B10 talks of how we, having enough (all sufficiency) can "abound" in good work.  That is certainly open-ended, but could include a project such as this one.  Didn't Jesus provide the ultimate "soup kitchen" (sorry) when he fed the multitudes?  [Section 5, B17] That part of loving our neighbor goes hand in hand with the healing and preaching in that story doesn't it?  And the whole lesson ends with that magnificent statement on page 518 of S&H (S30) about the "...rich in spirit helping the poor in one grand brotherhood..."
 
 [PYCL - Section 3, 6, 7:  Discuss the substance & structure of body, church & real existence.]
Two other topics that might work into a good discussion are the substance of body and of church (and maybe even how they relate to one another).  You could talk about Jesus' statement about how he will raise up this temple... make sure they get what he was referring to.  [Section 6, B20] Then look [in Section 3] at citation S13 to see that Mrs. Eddy defines Temple as "Body" and then body is defined further as "the superstructure of Truth; the shrine of Love;"  Later in the last section there is the definition of Church which includes the related word "structure" and includes Truth and Love as well. [S29, 583] This is really cool when you see that in citation S14 she tells us that "In proportion as [our] treasures of Truth and Love are enlarged" we understand spiritual existence (real treasure)!  So by understanding the substance of body and church, we can understand spiritual existence.  I may be losing the little kids here, but you could certainly talk about the connection between body and Church structure.  They may not have thought of themselves as a spiritual "structure" before.
 
[PYCL - Section 5:  Try a gimmick like fish crackers in small basket to buy discussion time.]
One teacher I know brought in those little fish crackers in a small basket to share while talking about the loaves and fishes.  Sometimes a little "gimmick" like this will help the very small ones to sit long enough to hear a bit of the story and maybe get the idea of how those 5 fish turned into so many.  It's awesome to see in citation S23 the fact driven home that the earth brings us food, etc. through "God's command..." not through good weather, fertile soil, lack of insects, etc. Always we must look to God as the creator and source of supply for good. (There's that First Commandment again!)
 
[PYCL:  Discuss how substance cannot be seen, but how its effects can be easily seen and felt.]
There is always the idea of understanding that most things of substance can't be seen with our eyes.  If that seems unusual you can always use the old example of how we can't "see" Love or love, but we know when it is there!  We feel it when our mom gives us a hug, when someone shares a smile or anything else good and so on.  You can ask, as always if they can draw love.  If not, does that mean it doesn't exist?  You can then go from there to talk about many other synonyms for God and how most are hard to "draw", but we still experience them all around us. These are examples of substance.
Have a fun Sunday!


PSST: Get rich, quick by turning to Spirit, God!
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson -- September 9, 2012
By: Heather K. Libbe, CS
Subject -- SUBSTANCE
 
This week's Lesson serves as a great springboard to discussing the question: what is substance? What do your students think of when they hear the word substance? What does the world consider to be substantial? Beauty? Wealth? Fame? Matter?
 
Because there are many radical ideas in this week's Lesson, which really challenge what our material senses try to tell us is substantial, it might be helpful to do an in-depth study of the Scientific Statement of Being (see below), as it applies to the idea of substance.  You could also revisit the definition of "man" from Recapitulation, which was highlighted in last week's Lesson, as a way to link both subjects together.
 
Below is a series of discussion topics and questions that could be used, as well.
 
PSST - Golden Text (Romans 13:33 (to 1st !))
 
Have you ever considered God's wisdom and knowledge to be associated with riches? Notice what the Lesson suggests are our real riches & treasures.
 
PSST - Responsive Reading (Proverbs 8:1, 10, 11, 14, 18-22, 24, 25, 32 (to :), 33-35; 10:22)
 
What does the Responsive Reading tell us about eternity and infinity? What do you think it means to "watch daily" at God's gates? How can we tangibly do this? (Friday's Daily Lift entitled "Morning Expectations" by Mary Beattie, CS of Australia gives some great insights)
 
Why do you think it says that "wisdom is better than rubies" and that we should be focusing on instruction and knowledge instead of silver and gold? How would you define riches? What do you consider to fall under the category of "riches" -- what does the world consider to be "riches" today?
 
How have you seen the "blessing of the Lord" this week, as mentioned in the final verse? Have each student share one or two ways and discuss how acknowledging these blessings can help one feel rich. This connects really well with several ideas from section two.
 
PSST - Section 1
 
Both through the Bible (B1, 4) and Science & Health (S1, 3), the idea of the "unseen" is brought out. It is interesting to note that in the first citation, Mrs. Eddy states that "neither God nor His image and likeness" can be seen by material sense. How often do we try and behold man through material sense, even though we might think of God as spiritual? As Christian Scientists, which do we believe to be reality - the seen or the unseen? How do we prove the "nothingness of matter?" (S6) How do we explain that to others? (Laurance Doyle gives a really great talk about the convergence of spirituality and science, featured in a CedarS Met  back in July, specifically highlighting some analogies to help explain Christian Science to our friends -- http://www.casttv.com/video/d7301i1/science-spirit-where-do-they-meet-dr-laurance-doyle-astrophysicist-video -- it may be helpful to show part of this)
 
How are we daily demonstrating the substance of Spirit? This could also be a really great opportunity to talk again about translating "things into thoughts" - this time, instead of going it with objects, you can do it with people. Ask: What types of qualities do your fellow Sunday school members express? Church members? Family members? If substance is, "that which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay" (S5), how should we be view those and those things around us? How does this apply to individuals who seem to be very old? Relating back to the Responsive Reading, what do we know about infinity?
 
Finally, in thinking about the first commandment, what are some gods that are common to our society? What does the first section (S2) suggest is one belief that breaks the First Commandment?
 
PSST - Section 2
 
This section has the potential to invoke some really rich discussion surrounding all things materialistic - wealth, fame, social organization, cliques... (S10) After all, Mrs. Eddy talks about sacrificing material things in order to progress in our spiritual understanding. (11)
 
What is the purpose of a job? (B7) To make money? To become famous? To serve? What is our purpose? (If you haven't yet had the change to, you might want to check out the Time4Thinkers LiveChat that happened at the TMCYouth College Summit this past weekend -- http://time4thinkers.com/t4t-events/purpose-passion-service/) What "objects" and/or vocations are we pursuing? (S10) This could also tie into Luke 12:34 which states, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (B14) - where is your treasure right now?
 
Does the Bible say money is evil or the love of money? How do we move past making a god out of money? How do we help others do the same? What does Mrs. Eddy suggestion? (S10) What promise do we read about in Isaiah that is comforting to those who have made a god out of money or have tried to be satisfied with riches? (B9 - God satisfies and fill us up so that we become a "watered garden," allowing us to then share our fruits with others)
 
Have you ever noticed that as people accumulate more and more wealth, they continue to year for more? They aren't ever truly satisfied, even though they might have the fanciest car or biggest house. This trend is similar to what Mrs. Eddy asks, "Who hath found finite life or love sufficient to meet the demands of human want and woe, -- to still the desires, to satisfy the aspiration?" (S9) What should we turn to instead? What does Mrs. Eddy have to say about cliques? Ask: How could you break up the cliques at your school?
 
PSST - Section 3
 
What happens when we give? Where should be the source of our giving? (Our heart) One thing that I enjoyed realizing about II Corinthians 9:7 is that it states that we should be cheerful givers. (B10) Ask: what does it mean to be a "cheerful giver" vs someone who gives because they feel that they have to? How wonderful it is to know that we have everything we need to give, because God is the source of our supply! Have the students set specific goals about how they are going to give this week - at school, at home, at church.  
 
Another idea would be to do a closed-reading (an in-depth reading without additional books and references, solely relying on each other's insights) of the story in this section and see how the ideas could be applied to the students' experiences. Ask: have you ever worked on a large project to rebuild something with others? At school? At home? At church? What qualities are important, if not required, to be able to work successfully together? Is it possible that we could give too much?
 
In thinking about the idea "giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us," (S12) besides group projects, how else can we apply this idea in our lives? How about sports where it can be tempting to think that we need to somehow "hold back" to conserve our energy? Or maybe it's even financially where we feel we need to hoard all our money. What would Jesus do in these situations?
 
PSST - Section 4
 
What do you think Jesus meant when he said "I and my father are one?" (B16) What do other faiths believe Jesus' meant by this statement and how does Christian Science differ? (ex: This statement is commonly believed to indicate that Jesus was God - so, this could lead into a really great discussion about the distinction between the man Jesus and his expression of the Christ, which could link back to the idea of things that are seen vs. things that are unseen, as mentioned in section one) What does Mrs. Eddy have to say about this?
 
In Miscellany, Mrs. Eddy writes,  "We have it only as we live it." (pg 126) What does this mean? Ask: how are you doing this? How does her statement in Miscellany coincide with what appears in Atonement and Eucharist? (S19) How did Jesus LIVE Science?
 
PSST - Section 5
 
This is another great opportunity for a closed-reading of the story of the feeding of the 5,000.  (B17) You could use some of the following questions: Why were the people following Jesus? Why so many? What did Jesus do before he gave the loaves and fishes to the disciples? Why would this be important? (This would be a really great time to talk about the importance of gratitude and the blessings that can result in doing so) How does the story of the loaves and the fishes express substance? How does it reflect the idea that "whatever blesses one blesses all." (S22) How much was remaining? How could this happen? (Another interesting thing to look at is where this story falls in John - where is Jesus coming from and where does he go right after?
 
Ask: What evidence have you seen this week of divine Love supplying your (your family & friends) needs this week? How have your spiritual needs been met?
 
PSST - Section 6
 
This is a great spot to tie back in Mrs. Eddy's definition of temple. (S13) What was Jesus' understanding of temple? What did he mean by saying "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up?" (B20) How did the Jews challenge this statement? What does Mrs. Eddy say about this statement in Science & Health? (S24)
 
What did Jesus have to do for Thomas - one of his disciples nonetheless - after his resurrection for him to believe? Why might Jesus have to have made this special exception for Thomas? (Note: Thomas wasn't with the disciples when they all say Jesus) What does Mrs. Eddy have to say about Thomas? (S25) Are there instances that we see today where people have to have physical proof before they will believe something? Can you think of examples from your own experience? Have you been a "doubting Thomas" who has been stuck in material sense? (This could be a great opportunity to talk about some ideas that Laurance Doyle brought out in his talk, such as the 2 + 2 = 5 analogy)
 
PSST - Section 7
 
How can we live abundantly? How does it feel to be filled up full with God? (There is a children's book called "Filled up Full" by Joy V Dueland, which could be fun to revisit) How does church fill us up? How does each part of the definition of church apply to our churches and lives? How can we each be "rousing the dormant understanding form material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas?" (S29)
 
How might we help heal others of oppression or oppressive beliefs? One thing that I enjoyed thinking about this week is "being rooted and grounded in love" - ask: what evidence do we have that we are rooted and grounded in love? (B23) How does this allow us to bring about healing? What is our true foundation? Of what did Jesus' spiritual foundation consist? (S28)
 
I have found it helpful to dissect the following citation: "The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother's need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another's good. Love giveth to the least spiritual idea might, immortality, and goodness, which shine through all as the blossom shines through the bud. All the varied expressions of God reflect health, holiness, immortality - infinite Life, Truth, and Love." (S30) What does it mean to be rich in spirit? Where in the Bible is the phrase "poor in spirit" used? What does the brotherhood of many look like? How does that work if we all come from different parts of the world, speak different languages, look differently, have different customs and hold different beliefs? How can we be blessed by being selfless? How does it in turn bless us to reach out to others? Even if we feel really small, what is backing us? How do we see "all the varied expressions of God?" Where does individuality fit into all of this? (S25) How to we live these statements?
 
Finally, it could be kind of neat to go back through the Lesson and pick out all the ways that Mrs. Eddy defines "substance," thinking about how we can apply these to the week and next week's Lesson on substance. 

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