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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Today in Sunday School

Today several in the class expressed concerns about living in an assisted living facility (ALF). One member, who is blind, had his dentures stolen during the week. He blames it on staff. He said the staff is inconsiderate—speaking loudly in his room and banging drawers and going through his personal things. Another resident (and member of the class) was drowsy today because of medication. He said staff wanted to control him so gave him extra medication—a chemical straightjacket. It gave me pause to think behind the Pleasantville fa├žade of some ALF’s is a great deal of unhappiness and even (like in an Agatha Christie mystery) a measure of danger.

Our first of five lessons today discussed fear and the ways that we can conquer it. Mitch discussed fear as a self-fulfilling prophecy—we expect the worst so get it. We can remember that friends and family like a great cloud of witnesses can give us encouragement. We can also look to the support that God offers. Our second lesson called “Mistakes in the Bible” gave me a new way of looking at the Bible—not only is it the inerrant Word of God it is also a reliable take on errant human nature. The mistakes in the Bible are human mistakes like the mistakes of Adam, Cain, and the rich young ruler. We should be thankful for this divine instruction manual that incorporates human nature as it is. Our third lesson was on hope. The lesson suggested that we keep a prayer journal not only of our petitions but also of blessing received. Our fourth lesson was from 1 Peter 2:2-3: “now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Like fresh peaches from a fruit orchard where a first taste calls for more, Psalm 34 calls us “to taste and see that the Lord is good.” The lesson points out that “when we live as God asks—our lives are improved.” The Psalmist is confident that our initial experience of God will call for more as our lives are improved. The fifth and final lesson was from Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” This lesson taught the enduring nature of Christian hope, despite temporary setbacks caused by a broken world.

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