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PSST - PSST: Choose “the beauty of the Lord our God be” YOUR story in every setting

Aubrey McMullin, CS Godrey, IL

[PSST: Choose “the beauty of the Lord our God be” YOUR story in every setting…]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Adam and Fallen Man
for November 10, 2019

by Aubrey McMullin, CS, Godfrey, IL
(618) 578-9407 aubrey.mcmullin3@gmail.com

What is included in a story? Early in school, we are taught that a story must include setting, characters, plot, conflict, and theme. As I was reading this week’s lesson, it felt to me like reading a story with a choose-your-own-ending! From the very beginning in the Golden Text (GT), we are given two options for how our story could go: we can live as a tale being told, or we can let God’s beauty be upon us. Which would you choose? What does it mean to “spend our years as a tale that is told?” What does it mean to “let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us?” There’s that word “let” that we find often in the Bible. What are we letting our lives be in one option versus the other?

The Responsive Reading (RR) echoes these questions from the Golden Text. What is in our hearts? Are our hearts focused on material things as our accomplishments and value, or are our hearts focused on quality and the works of God outlining our value and accomplishment? What does our SETTING look like for our story? What do we feel like we need to include in order to prove that we are valuable, accomplished and fulfilled? Do we need to build houses and plant vineyards and gather silver and gold and treasures, etc.? What will we have if this is what we see as fulfilling for us? What are we accepting as our story? What kind of setting are we choosing? Is it one that is material or one that is spiritual?

Usually in a story, no matter how long it is, we are introduced to the MAIN CHARACTER pretty early on. It seems like the main character of this week’s lesson is MAN – US! – and we are given the first two sections to decide which idea of man will be the character of our story! So, who IS man (SH3)? Will the main character of our story be the man described in Section 1 or Section 2 (B3, B6)? Who made man (B1)?

What does light have to do with the creation of man? I liked the reference to light in the first section – what do you think the statement “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” means for man (B2, SH1)? “Light shining in darkness has no relation to the darkness. It doesn’t shine for the darkness or because of the darkness or to save the darkness. And although light always dispels darkness, it does not get ‘involved’ with the darkness in order to dispel it. Light shines for one reason only – because its very nature is light.” This is from an article titled “Unreasonable Love” by Susan Dane Gilboy from the October 1989 issue of The Christian Science Journal.

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How was man created (B3, B6)? Where is there room for doubt regarding man’s creation? What are the claims that try to contradict the harmony and immortality of man (SH4) and how do we dissolve those claims? What is fable and what is fact in these two sections and what are we choosing as our main character for our story? Are we choosing spiritual man from Section 1 or mortal man from section 2? How are we catching clear glimpses of Truth (SH8) in our story?

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After choosing our main character, we are then given the opportunity in Sections 3-7 to choose what our PLOT will be. In a plot, we usually find an introduction (Section 3), rising action (Section 4), climax (Section 5), and falling action (Section 6) and then a resolution (Section 7). We will also find a CONFLICT (a challenge or problem) that the plot centers around. What might that conflict be?

I think Section 3 could be our introduction to the plot of our story – will it be a plot of good or evil? What is good? What does the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (B9, S10) signify? What would be the opposing option to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (SH10)? Can honesty and dishonesty co-exist? Did God create man both good and evil? If we can only choose one for our story, which one will we choose? Do we want a plot filled with good or evil, blessing or cursing? What is the standard of good that will be set in our story and fulfilled throughout (SH9)? What does the Bible declare of God’s creation (SH13) and what are we choosing for our reality and our plot of our story?

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Section 4 gives us some rising action and awakes us to some of the decisions that we may have made so far in our choose-your-own-ending book. Are we awake or are we asleep (B13)? What serpents do we need to handle daily (B14)? I particularly appreciated the wake-up call in marker 14 of the Bible in this section. When God asked Adam who told him that he was naked, who did Adam blame? And who did Eve blame when the blame had been turned to her? Do we take responsibility for our own decisions, or do we put blame on others? Adam chose to eat. Eve chose to listen to the serpent. Who is at fault for these decisions? How often do we turn quickly to blame others for our decisions rather than accepting consequences and growing from them? Are we going to choose, again, this false plot of mortality that has been provided to us by the second account of creation or are we going to change direction and choose immortality and Truth (SH16) and be redirected and recognize our “essence of divinity” as good and only good (SH17)? What curses do we remove (SH19) when we choose a plot that lifts the mist of mortal mind?

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Now, I say that Section 5 is the climax and anyone could choose to disagree, BUT consider what this section is declaring for us! What is “the simplicity that is in Christ” (B16) that we are corrupted from if we choose a narrative of matter and mortality? What is SIMPLE about Truth (SH21)? What do you think is behind the “gates of Paradise” and why have human beliefs closed these gates? What sources have we been turning to so far in our story? How are we learning how much of a man we are? This is a turning point in our story. We have a big decision to make here! What will it be? Isn’t this simplicity something we have been working towards for our entire story?

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Here in Section 6 we have some falling action. We are reminded that we have an incredible tool at our disposal – the sword of truth! We’re being led toward our resolution/closure throughout this section while still being asked to make that decision in Spirit! What do we have power over (B21, SH26)? Now that we have chosen the simplicity that is in Christ, what can we continue to choose for our story? Are we choosing to wield a sword of truth and Spirit (SH22)?

Do you know what an alterative is? According to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, an alterative is something that “generally induces a change in the habit or constitution and restores healthy functions.” What are some decisions that we have made this far in our story that have been Scientific correctives (SH23)? How is the human system being changed to restore healthy functions through this alterative of Science? What does it mean to be made in God’s image (SH24) and what is governing your body (SH25)? How do we know that now that we have chosen the simplicity of Christ, we are “entirely separate from the belief and dream of material living” (SH26)?

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SATISFATION! FULFILLMENT! COMPLETION! Here we are, at the end of our choose-your-own-ending story. We have been choosing Spirit throughout, and are finally at a point where we have one last choice to make: “‘where art thou? Consciousness, where art thou? Art thou dwelling in the belief that mind is in matter, and that evil is mind, or art thou in the living faith that there is and can be but one God, and keeping His commandment?’” (SH27) What is the great question being asked here? What are we CHOOSING to be conscious of moment by moment (B25, SH28)? What are we capable of (SH29)? WHAT ARE WE ACCEPTING (SH30)?!

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