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 PYCL: Choose healthy THOUGHT CHANNELS! Throw off the many-minds FABLE! (#2,3,5)
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Mind”
for August 16 – Sunday, August 22, 2021

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com • 314-406-0041

 Pycl#1: IDENTIFY MORTAL MIND AS the “CULPRIT,” ABANDON IT & AFFIRM HARMONY to “TIE IT UP!”

Using citation B17/Matt. 12:22-26, 28, 29 as a basis, have some toy handcuffs, or fabric/stretchy rope, or something non-threatening, to demonstrate “binding the strong man”. What is this strong man? Do the children understand the analogy that Jesus is making? What is an example of this “strong man” in our own thought? What about human will, which is wanting things to go a certain way without regard to what God might want? Wanting things, or wanting things to go a certain way can be a very strong desire, just like that “strong man”. And sometimes it is even things we don’t want but mortal mind gets super stubborn and won’t let it go, like when we are really sad or angry. These are also a kind of “strong man” that needs to be “bound”!

Once mortal mind (which is what Mary Baker Eddy calls the “strong man” (cit. S23/400:4-6, 26-28) is identified as the “culprit” in any situation, there are a few approaches we can take to “tying it up”!
In this same passage she tells us we need to “forsake discord”. What does forsake mean, and what is discord? How do we do this? We must “acknowledge the supremacy of divine Mind”— this means to recognize the power of Mind over anything that seems like it could oppose it. We might do this with some gratitude for Mind’s power and presence, recognizing how we see Mind expressed around us. And, finally, we must “abandon…material beliefs”. What does abandon mean, and what are our material beliefs? Come up with some examples together.

Here’s the thing that is cool about this passage. Each of these requests that help us to bind the strong man, or mortal mind, require us to take actions that are eminently possible! We are not asked to do advanced math, or understand the depths of quantum physics, or to analyze a challenging novel! We are asked to simply “forsake”, “acknowledge”, and “abandon”. These are not complicated, though they certainly can present a challenge!

With the very young children you can dramatize the way that we want to “bind” our human will, or our anger, or whatever you come up with, by using handcuffs or rope to demonstrate this idea. What frees us from these bindings? Leaving mortal mind out of the picture more and more! The more we take a moment to acknowledge the power of Mind and Mind’s government, the more we find the harmony that is natural to us.

Pycl #2: TALK ABOUT THE “HEALTHY CHANNELS” WE WANT TO MAKE FOR OUR THOUGHT—see citation S26/276:4,19. If you can use a garden hose and some dirt or sand, all the better, or a pitcher of water in a big plastic tub with a mound of dirt or sand. Watch how the water can make channels in the surface of the soil/sand. If you keep the volume of water consistent and not overwhelming, the water will continue to go down those channels and deepen as it is continuously poured. This is similar to how we form habits of thought.

If we want to change our thought habits or patterns we need to try to keep our thought aligned with the one Mind who is constantly guiding and governing us. You can certainly use video or photos to illustrate how water forms channels. There’s a beautiful hymn that speaks of making “channels for the streams of Love” (Hymn 182). Sing (or say) the hymn together and then think about how we would do this.
What are some actions that we can take that prove that we are making such channels?
What governs the flow of ideas for the “water” that goes down these “channels”?
If a channel isn’t a good one, that is we already have patterns that we’d like to change, what can we do? Do we have to damn them up? The passage tells us that when we understand our relation to Mind, our wholeness, our thought is “turned into new and healthy channels, towards the contemplation of things immortal…” (cit. S26/276:4,19)

I love that this proper channeling is done, not through our sweat, per se, but through our conscious awareness of Mind’s relationship to man, to us.  One way to illustrate this might be to show a picture of a braided stream—lots of different channels on a mudflat. Then a picture of a mountain stream rushing downhill. We are removed from where the confusion of mortal thought would have us wander, to the height of a new channel that is clear and strong, that is inspired (in this case by literal height!).
Mind’s ideas are always healthy and fresh!

Pycl #3: STOP LETTING OTHERS, OR YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, “CHOOSE” FOR YOU!!  DENY THE LIE OF MANY MINDS!  Take a look at our Responsive Reading, especially verse 2 of Rom 12, in another translation. This verse in particular is a lot of fun to think through.
What are we conforming to? Whose thought do we want to have influencing us?
Don’t we want to choose the influence that is ”…first pure, then peace loving, gentle, reasonable, and full of compassion…” (see other translations of this verse from the Golden Text as well! (James 3:17—I tried Amplified Bible, and The Message)?

If we don’t actually make a choice, it would seem that we are sometimes letting others, or our circumstances “choose” for us!! Mary Baker Eddy tells us that self-government is really being governed by God. Doesn’t that reinforce the idea of there being, in truth, only one Mind?!

Any time we are governed wrongly, we are not truly governing ourselves, and neither is Mind—so the suggestion there is that there is more than one mind. This is the lie that we want to address!
If only Mind has power, then any other stray thought, or seeming power, is rendered powerless.

See the story of Abigail in Section 3 and talk about how Abigail’s power of love brought peace to a possibly violent event. 1st Sam. 25/cit. B11 —the story of Abigail and Nabal. Her acknowledgement of the power of Mind to govern changed David’s thought to peace and love, rather than vengeance.

Pycl #4: TEAR DOWN ANYTHING THAT’D KEEP YOU FROM BEING HAPPY, INTELLIGENT, CLEAR THINKING…  What kinds of “weapons” do we each have from Mind that help us to tear down anything that would keep us from being happy, intelligent, clear thinking, patient, and so on? See citation B18/2nd Cor 10:3-5. This might be a little similar to the strong man ideas, but in this case, you can bring in a couple of toy “weapons’‘, a cardboard sword, or something like that, or drawings of a few weapons.

Ask the children which weapon (if it were real) would help us to destroy thought that keeps us from feeling our true, Godlike self? The answer, of course, is none of them! What weapons is Paul talking about? How can we have them and use them? Would it be useful to talk about the “sword of the Spirit”?

Maybe one of our weapons is preparation. We can prepare our thought for each day by taking up the weapon of silent prayerful space. It only takes a moment to bring about real change and protection. One moment of acknowledging that there is only one true Mind, of recognizing that this Mind has all power, and that gossip, unkindness, lying, anger, sadness, do not have power over us as Mind’s expression. Maybe each child can go home with a paper sword to represent our weapons and you could write on the sword the weapons we have in Christian Science to defend ourselves from anything that says it is bigger than God/Mind!

Pycl #5: HOW CAN WE TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUE IDEAS & ILLUSIONS?
Mary Baker Eddy asks and answers this question in citation S10/88:9-14. Look to the Golden Text for some ideas about the qualities that are central to Mind’s wisdom. If our feelings and thoughts don’t match these, then they are not from God. She also shares that “Mortal mind must part with error, must put off itself with its deeds, and immortal manhood, the Christ ideal, will appear.” Try having the children think about how they can “put off” error or mortal mind?

[THROW OFF FABLES!  Although a bit early for Halloween,] have students try putting on a jacket that you bring in, or a cape of some kind that is easy to throw on and off. Because character faults and bad feelings and thoughts are not true, they are not part of who we are. We can learn to separate our sense of self from false ideas of self and throw them off like a coat. The coat isn’t “me”, it’s just a coat.
Bad behavior, bad feelings, etc. are not “us”, they are fables that Mind helps us to “throw off” or “put off”. Healing has a foundation beneath it. This foundation includes a proper sense of God and man as all good!

Have a great week in Sunday School!

 

 

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