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PSST - PSST: Take students on a treasure hunt! Bring unity to all, especially the marginalized.

Steve Henn

[PSST: Take students on a treasure hunt! Bring unity to all, especially the marginalized.]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on;

“Christian Science”

for Sunday, December 27, 2015

By Steve Henn, C.S. St. Louis, Missouri steven.henn@gmail.com
[Steve's been a CedarS Program Director & teaches English at The Principia School.]

PSST Golden Text – To whom is this wondrous phrase spoken, and who is speaking it? These are the first important questions to address. Following this, consider why this grand speaker came to these humble listeners? Why was this exalted messenger not sent to the high priest or the regional ruler? What does this say about the message of Christ (consider a treasure hunt for the various ways Christ teaches the value of humility throughout his ministry)? Who is ready to receive it; more importantly, who is ready/willing to act upon it?

Looking further into this verse, there is a promise of peace in it. Historically speaking, this was a time of great peace and stability in the Roman Empire. Why then this need to declare peace? What type of peace is this salutation referencing? Where does true, lasting peace originate? (Note: the peace established by the Roman Empire at this time was upended only 70 years later.)

Lastly, what is meant by “good will toward men”? Do your students understand the divide between Jew and Gentile at the time? How did Jesus and then his followers preach about this divide? What does Christ’s ministry offer to the division between any of the various groups of mankind? What can this further offer to our larger socio-political climate in the 21st century? Do your students feel the impetus to be peacemakers in our modern environment? Where can they begin this practice in their immediate lives at home, school, first-jobs, community…?

PSST Responsive Reading – This grand message of Christ is not meant to be a secret, is it? What does it look like to talk about Christ and his ministry in terms that are relevant to today’s youth? Is it possible to engage in a discussion about the goodness of God in a way that unifies His children instead of dividing them? How is God’s “holy arm” made visible to all nations; and what needs to be done for the salvation of God to be spread to the ends of the earth? In short, how does true, Christian, scientific morality and spirituality gain a foothold in a relevant, public discourse?

One place to begin is offered in the citations from Romans in this Responsive Reading: the scriptures which were “written aforetime.” What relevance do the scriptures have to a 21st-century teenager? Or to any 21st-century problems, issues, concerns? Where in scripture can we find instruction or learning that might be meaningful, useful, and progressive? Is it possible that by looking so far back into human history and man’s relationship with God that we might actually find insights about the best way forward? Rather than getting caught up in the latest fad, trend, or whim (how long does each of these really last anyway?), explore with your students what they might get out of looking at stories and experiences that have truly stood the test of time.

Taking this challenge on may seem impossible, but the promise of this Responsive Reading is that the scriptures and even God Himself is both patient and comforting. Why is it important to see God and the scriptures as patient and comforting? What is the intended result of studying them? How can your students truly learn to be like-minded with all their fellow men, both peers and non-peers? What will it take for them to truly feel filled by the God of hope with all joy and peace? What parts of scripture can they truly, firmly believe in? Another treasure hunt you might take them on is that of finding those parts of scripture that speak most clearly to them, revealing the power, presence and relevance of the Holy Ghost, Christ, and God.

PSST Section 1 – How does the story of the birth of Christ Jesus offer a promise of peace? What can be learned from Mary’s role in this story? From Joseph? From the wise-men, the shepherds, and the angels? What does the discovery and revelation of divine Science have in common with the birth of Christ? How do these parallel stories guide us in the direction of peace on earth, goodwill to all mankind?

PSST Section 2 – What is “the Word”? How does Jesus’ ministry reveal this Word to us more clearly? How can we use it in our daily lives? What is the central point of Christian Science, and how does it connect to this “Word” as preached by Jesus?

PSST Section 3 – What demand is made up on us in our relationship to all mankind through Jesus’ example? Who among your students has an enemy, or knows a person or group of people who are marginalized? What are we each doing to unify those around us? What can we do that will truly make a difference? What role can our study of Christian Science play in this exploration?

PSST Section 4 – What is the “spiritual idea, the Holy Ghost and Christ” that is spoken of in this section? How does it enable us to demonstrate “with scientific certainty” the laws of divine Science? What elements of this thought do your students not fully comprehend? Where is our understanding strong, and where does it need strengthening? What can we do in Sunday School to fully bolster our understanding so we can practice it during the week?

PSST Section 5 – What is the Comforter? What must the Comforter offer us? How can we most effectively understand this Comforter, and bring it into the experiences we have on a daily basis?

PSST Section 6 – What does it mean to be perfect? Is that even possible? How does our understanding of Christian Science help us to see this command differently in our own lives? How does our understanding of Christian Science help us to see others differently in light of this command?

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