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Sunday School Work Progressive
ANNIE M. KNOTT, CSD


         All superintendents and teachers in Christian Science Sunday schools are supposed to be thoroughly acquainted with the by-law in the Manual of The Mother Church which relates to the work of the Sunday school. Indeed all the activities of the Christian Science church lay hold upon vital truth, and are therefore of interest to every one who attends the services, and all should be deeply interested in this nursery of Christian character. We should never forget our Leader’s statement that “progress is the law of God” (Science and Health, p. 233), and this certainly relates to the work of the Sunday school as well as to individual unfoldment. Progress means that teachers and pupils alike should be doing better work today than they did a year ago, and bringing forth fruits in accordance therewith.

         In the Sunday school of The Mother Church, in Boston, it is customary for the superintendent to read on the first Sunday of each month the whole of Article XX, relating to the Sunday school, as given on pages 62 and 63 of the Manual, and the teachers cannot fail to be deeply impressed by the requirement stated in Section 2, which reads as follows: “The Sabbath school children shall be taught the Scriptures, and they shall be instructed according to their understanding or ability to grasp the simpler meanings of the divine Principle that they are taught.” The next section deals specifically with the “first lessons,” but here too the requirement of the preceding section holds good, for it deals with the Scriptures. It also insists that “the instruction given by the children’s teachers must not deviate from the absolute Christian Science contained in their textbook.” The Scripture teaching must therefore be in accord with Principle, and not mere personal opinion, and this calls for progressive spiritual unfoldment on the part of both teachers and taught.

         Just here it is well to remember that Christ Jesus was evidently a very close student of the Bible, for he used the inspired word as his weapon in every encounter with error. His great victory in the wilderness was won in this way, and after his resurrection we find him bringing to his disciples such an understanding of the Scriptures as made their hearts burn within them. Should not we strive to do the same for the children today? We are told that Paul was mighty in expounding the Scriptures, but this was after he had learned the difference between the letter which killeth and the spirit which giveth life. In his epistle to the gentle Timothy he says, “From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” Our Master said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life,” and this is what the Christian Science Sunday school is designed to bring to the children,—life manifested in health, purity, truthfulness, and loving obedience.

         We are here reminded that the children are to be “taught the Scriptures,” not taught about the Scriptures, and experience has shown that it is usually best to confine the instruction to the Lesson for the day. This is always limitless in its possibilities, and the teacher should be rich enough in spiritual lore to answer in an inspiring way the questions of the pupils, whether these deal with Moses, David, Daniel, Christ Jesus, or with the truth revealed through Mrs. Eddy’s discovery of the divine Principle of the Bible. In the earlier years of Christian Science work a great effort was needed to rise above the material sense of the Scriptures, which denied the present availability of divine Truth, and which dealt in a vague way with prophecy; as if its meaning could be gathered from dates, past or present, when its real value depends upon its daily fulfillment in individual experience.

         Our great need is to know the Bible better, love it more, and practise its teachings through the spiritual illumination gained from Science and Health. These two books that God hath “joined together,” we must not “put asunder” in our Sunday school work, but let them gently lead the children step by step into heaven,—harmony, health, happiness.

 

"Sunday School Work Progressive" by Annie M. Knott, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, June 3, 1916

 

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