About the Weekly Lesson Art:
As a Sunday School teacher, each week I pray about interesting ways to
present the stories and ideas in the Weekly Bible Lesson. The idea to make
art out of selected citations from the Bible lesson came to me recently as I
was thinking about teaching the 5th-6th grade class. I wasn’t sure if any of
them were reading the lesson on a regular basis, and thought if they could
learn to love and appreciate individual citations, they might be more
inclined to study and love the entire lesson. The idea is to provide them
with a template each week on drawing paper that they can paint (watercolor)
and then fill in with a fine point marker with words, citations, thoughts on
the upcoming week’s lesson. We bring them in the following Sunday to show
what we each did with the page, and talk about what citations were selected
and why….which hopefully promotes a lively conversation about the Bible
A series of programs recently aired on a local Public Broadcast Station that looked at the modern women’s movement in the 20th century. Titled “MAKERS,” the three-part series focused on the birth of this movement and the women who helped change history.
The series’ events begin in the 1950s, when women first questioned their prospects of life in a profound way and, by the 1960s, had started to form organized efforts to push for social change. This period of history was rich in changes that influenced races, generations, and gender, even as it often polarized thought and action as a result.
A century before this movement, the climate for women was much more limited and confining. Women’s place in society was determined by men; no one expected women to have equal rights. Women were unable to own property, enter into business agreements, or collect or deposit funds. In 1848 a convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York, to bring issues like these to the attention of the country. This town is still considered the birthplace of the U.S. women’s movement.
In a nearby state a couple of decades later, a woman named Mary Baker Eddy was pioneering her own movement to bring freedom to the enslaved. She wanted to help people who were suffering from diseases, sin, and misery. Eddy believed in everyone’s inherent claim to health, prosperity, and freedom as a God-given right. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures she wrote, “Men and women of all climes and races are still in bondage to material sense, ignorant how to obtain their freedom.” (p. 225)
What liberates from disease, sin, and death? “Truth brings the elements of liberty,” she wrote. “On its banner is the Soul-inspired motto, ‘Slavery is abolished.’ The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love.” (p. 224)
As discoverer of Christian Science and the founder of the worldwide Christian Science church organization, the acclaimed Christian Science Monitor newspaper, and the Christian Science Publishing Society, Eddy demonstrated the freedom from unfair social limits that she advocated for all women. As important as she considered equal legal and social rights for women, minorities, and all oppressed people to be, Eddy undoubtedly viewed the most important victory to be dominion of the real, spiritual child of God over what she knew to be a false view of men and women as mortals, often powerless over material conditions.
“What is it that binds man with iron shackles to sin, sickness, and death? Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth makes man free.” This statement strongly echoes the Scriptural text, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) In that Scriptural passage, Jesus expressed to his disciples the indissoluble link between God and man and the need to be free from all false governance.
As people in Austin and across the United States commemorate Women’s History Month in March, many deserving people will be remembered for their efforts to better the economic, social, and legal conditions for women. Our church members honor Mary Baker Eddy as one of these outstanding leaders whose work and achievements have changed the world.
Renee Sutton is a Christian Scientist living in Austin, Texas.
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