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PSST - PSST: Dig into the concept of comfort and a comforter!

Steve Henn

[PSST: Dig into the concept of comfort and a comforter!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on;

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

for Sunday, June 28, 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.]

PSSTS for Golden Text (GT) – ACTIVITY: Define comfort with your students – ask each of them to share qualities of comfort, or actions that would be considered as comforting. Then have them write or draw for a few minutes different ways that they feel comforted during their days or weeks. The end of this opening activity should have students experiencing a much deeper sense of what comfort means, which will then allow them to dig into the concept of a comforter later in this lesson.

Who are “my people”? How does one identify who God’s people are? Is there any separation between people who are God’s people and those who are not? If God is everywhere, is the creator of all things, can there be people outside of God’s family? What does this mean for our practice of Christian Science? What does this mean for our understanding of God’s care?

PSSTS for Responsive Reading (RR) – Have your students look for examples in the RR of ways that God comforts His people. Ask your students to find specific examples of what God actually does, or promises to do; also encourage them to look up words they are not familiar with (Gentiles, forsake, etc…). Then discuss how we see evidence of one or more of these specific actions in our own lives.

What is a covenant? Why is it important to our relationship with God? Who in the Bible made covenants with God? What were the results of those covenants?

Who or what is Zion? Why would God wish to comfort Zion and her waste places?

PSSTS for Section 1 - Who will be the first to receive God’s word? Are they the people you would normally expect to be receivers of God’s messages? What is unusual about them? And how do their peculiarities make them the perfect people to hear God or see God first?
Activity: Have your students work together in teams to draw connections between this section and the Beatitudes. Have the teams try to find as many connections or parallels as they can in 3 minutes – then have them share and see how many similar connections they found, and how many unique ones each team found.

What does Mrs. Eddy’s example provide for us to be counted among the “honest seekers for Truth”? What is true about her search for an understanding of divine Science, and how might we emulate her search in our own lives?

PSSTS for Section 2 - READING SYMBOLS – if there is one continual activity you can do with your students, it is teaching them to read the symbols of the Bible. Understanding symbolism in the Bible will help it come alive for them, and give them the tools to make relevant meaning of sections such as this one. Take a moment to look closely at citation B3 and do some research with your students (or in preparation for Sunday) about these symbols: golden candlestick with a bowl and seven lamps, two olive trees, golden oil, two olive branches, the number seven.

Translate these symbols first into meaningful representatives of what Mrs. Eddy is speaking of in the S&H portion of this section; and then work to make modern-day connections to these symbols. [See PS1 in online Met.]

PSSTS for Section 3 – Talk about the comfort expressed in this section. Focus particularly on the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. [See PS below.] Continue your conversations of symbols by talking about the symbol of blood – what it symbolized for the people of Jesus’ time – and why this woman was so afraid. Help your students understand her crippling and terrifying situation, and then discuss with them what it must have been like for Jesus to call her “Daughter” – how was Jesus comforting her? How can we expect the Christ to comfort us in modern times?

What role do “signs following” play in the comforting of modern man?

How comforting is it to hear “Thou art whole!”? [See PS2 in online Met.]

PSSTS for Section 4 - What should we be seeing; what should we be hearing; and what should we be remembering?
ACTIVITY: Have your students make lists – on a single page, have them divide it into thirds – and in each third of that page, make a list in response to one of these three questions.

How is Divine Science a Comforter? Look back at your definitions of comfort from the GT and RR work above; then discuss how Divine Science fills those roles today. Also add into the conversation how Divine Science reaches mankind; is it a limited science? Is it available only to Christian Scientists (“His proof of Christianity was no form or system of religion…” [S15])? What is Christian Science, if it is not a form or system of religion?

PSSTS for Section 5 – The focus now turns to us – what is our role as a comforter? Again, go back to that discussion of comfort from the GT and RR and build into it what we should expect of ourselves when it comes to being comforters. Who should we expect to comfort? What can we do to comfort?

What do we need to do in our own lives to prepare for this role of comforter? Talk with your students about the difference between the letter and the spirit of Christian Science.

What is the difference between seeking and striving?

How important is it to ensure that our hearts are in the right place – that we keep our gaze/our focus continually on good, God? (S18)

PSSTS for Section 6 – Who is Divine Science for? What does Revelation say of the little book – who is it meant for? Have your students followed Mrs. Eddy’s admonition in citation S23? How do we make space for this type of study in today’s busy, and ever busier, world? Why is it more important than ever to do so?

PSSTS for Section 7 – How is love the fulfilling of the law? What laws does simply loving help us to fulfill? Look at the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes with your students as places to start considering this idea. How does this tie into the theme of comfort from throughout this entire lesson? Is comfort a “soft” attribute? Look at citation S28 as you answer this question with your students.


[PS The Tzitzit or tassels “on the wings” (hem or border) of Jesus’ prayer shawl are prophesied in the book of Malachi to impart healing power; and many who followed Jesus, including the woman in Luke 8:43-44 who reached out to touch the tassels on the hem of his prayer shawl, would have been aware of this Old Testament prophesy. (“ unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; … Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb… Mal. 4:2, 4). In biblical days, as today, the purpose of tassels on “the wings” of a prayer shawl is to remind the wearer of the importance and power of keeping the 10 Commandments. At CedarS Bible Lands Park this week over 300 campers, staff and adult helpers (led by a time-travelling “Moses”) will “touch the fringes of eternity” (Hymn 64) represented by the 10 Commandments as each visitor tries on a prayer shawl and promises, as a cabin or program group, to keep each commandment in its modern-day applications as listed in the first Download. See Met PS2 and pictures and text Downloads in CedarS online Met.]

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