Thank you for another best summer yet!

5 PYCLs: 1) INSCRIBE SELF QUALITIES ON YOUR PALMS 2) DESCRIBE WHAT GOD LOOKS & FEELS LIKE…  3) TELL the BIBLE STORIES AS SOLUTIONS FOR TODAY. 4) HOW THE GOLDEN RULE PRESERVES. 5) BREAD AND JAM.
P
ossible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

 “God the Only Cause and Creator”
for December 12, 2021

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


PYCL #1: DRAW QUALITIES OF SELFHOOD ON THE PALMS OF THE HANDS. (Golden Text/Isa 49:16)

Let’s think about who we are. Have each student describe themselves in spiritual qualities. Then, if they are ok with it, write these qualities, or symbols of them, on the palm of their hand. You can use gel ink pens which wash off fairly easily, but they will also probably smear when the children make a fist. Feel free to make small designs if you are inclined just to keep their attention, speaking of the qualities and how they are right in front of Love’s view as these would be on the palm of your own hand!

I found that the definition of “inscribed” includes the geometrical term meaning: “to draw or delineate one figure within another so that the inner lies entirely within the boundary of the outer, touching it at as many points as possible (inscribe circle within a square). Draw this image for them and discuss how we, as ideas of God, are encircled in this way, on every side, embraced and “touching” Love on all sides!


PYCL #2: ASK EACH STUDENT to DESCRIBE WHAT GOD LOOKS AND FEELS LIKE. WRAP EACH IN LOVE!

In citations S3 and S4/258:1-6 and 576:31-4 we have references to the limited/finite conception of God, and the “human sense of Deity”. After they have shared how they think of God, you can think together about what makes God “God”.

Can you describe what God “looks” like? If not, can you describe God in some other way?
Is their description more limited or more spiritually unlimited? If the students are a little older, study these two passages together, if not, see if you can share the gist of them in a way that they will understand what she means. This truer description and understanding of God is what we are surrounded by, embraced and encompassed by, kept safe within. etc. You could bring a soft wrap or blanket with you to Sunday School and wrap each student in turn in this blanket to symbolize the way that we are surrounded by Love.


PYCL #3: TELL the BIBLE STORIES in this week’s Lesson & WHAT PROBLEMS THEY CAN SOLVE TODAY.

I always love to tell the central Bible stories to children.

  • Ask questions about Abraham and Hagar, mentioned in citation B7/Gen. 21:9-20.
    Do they know who Abraham was? Ask if he was before or after Moses? If they are not sure, have them see if they can figure it out themselves by looking through the Bible.
    Explain that Hagar was a slave girl—that Abraham and Sarah couldn’t have children and so, according to custom of the day, Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham so that she could have a child that Sarah could then raise with her as an heir. As it turned out, Sarah had a child with Abraham quite a few years later! Think together of what it must have felt like to be sent out into the desert with no knowledge of where you were headed, with a bottle of water and some bread. The desert is vast, there were no nearby towns. What would happen to you when you ran out of water and there were no roads you were following, etc.?Then have a conversation about one of my favorite parts of this story: did that well suddenly “appear”? Did God put it there for her out of nowhere?
    Or was the well there all along and she was “blinded” by her fear, sadness, perhaps resentment at being shoved out of the family and into the desert to fend for herself with her son?
    This is such a crucial idea—that we are always provided for, but must become conscious of this provision. One big take-away lesson for us today is that we have to learn to open our eyes to the truth of abundance. This, of course, is not always easy! It certainly would not have been for Hagar!!
  • Now you can move to the story about David being pursued by King Saul, which is not one we see in our Bible Lessons often (ever?). (1st Samuel 23:9-14/citation B9) Here David is found in the town of Keilah. He had recently rescued Keilah (not in this lesson) from the Philistines when they were threatened, so you might expect that they would offer him refuge, hide him from King Saul, who was looking for David to kill him. You probably should give some background on the story of why Saul was trying to kill David. Emphasize that David was innocent, had done nothing wrong (not unlike Hagar). In fact, as you can see, David was actually pretty good about defending Israel from neighboring enemies, as in this case!Talk about how David asked for God’s direction, and listened to God for answers. This is something we see often with David [and hopefully for ourselves]! And he hears God’s answer here that not only will Saul come looking for him in this town, but that the people of the town will tell Saul where he is! So, he saves himself and moves on into the mountains where it is difficult to find him.
  • The story of Jesus healing the man with a withered hand might be more familiar to the children.
    Why did Jesus ask the question of the Pharisees: “Is it lawful to do good or to do evil on the Sabbath day?” This question forced them to answer with “good”! It also made them look bad, because here they are in a temple, looking for ways to capture and kill Jesus, while Jesus is doing what? Healing people!
    The Pharisees were trying to find some “rule” that he was breaking in order to give them an excuse to do evil.Think about how Jesus was preserved in this case. You can even discuss the fact that in the end, it would seem that Jesus wasn’t preserved from death, since they did crucify him after all. But what happened after that? Jesus overcame death itself, and proved for all of us that life is not confined to the rules of matter!
  • This might also give you the opportunity, if the children aren’t too young, to point out that Love preserves us not from the opportunity to meet a challenge, but from evil.So, for example, Hagar was sent out into the desert, which certainly felt like a terrible thing. Yet, we are told that Hagar’s son established a great nation ultimately. [Warren: For much more on the resilience role-modeled for us today by “Heroic Hagar” see minutes 27:45 thru 39:20 in a YouTube Video by our Bible Professor son, Dr. Barry Huff, as a Good Friday 2021 Easter Talk for Third Church New York City at https://youtu.be/D_SDmZ7GAQc ]David had to flee from Saul for a long time, but eventually, he took his place as the greatest king of Israel.

    And, of course, Jesus endured the crucifixion to show us the freedom of man from death, and to give us the example of not only resurrection, but ascension. Love provides safety, sometimes from the danger itself, but often from the results of what appear to be evil!


PYCL #4: HOW THE GOLDEN RULE PRESERVES.

It might be good to speculate a bit on how David might have been tempted to feel about things after helping the town of Keilah, and Saul himself, only to be told that they would betray him. If you are inspired to, you could share a couple of the stories where David was running from Saul and had the opportunity to kill Saul, but chose instead to save him. These are great stories as well, and go to the subject at hand of preservation, in addition to the idea that the Golden Rule presents, of doing unto others what you would have done to yourself, in every circumstance.

How often do we feel justified in doing something rotten/saying something rotten to someone because they have first done that to us? You could then talk about how the Golden Rule preserves man! It may not always look like it preserves us though!
Can you come up with reasons why this Golden Rule preserves us? What does it preserve us from?
If we do not bow to revenge, resentment, anger, what do we gain?
What are we free from experiencing? Are we happier? Are we more at peace?
We can run around our whole lives being victims of other’s acts and feeling powerless and angry. Or…we can, as Mary Baker Eddy tells us in citation S25 “Take possession of your body (and your thought), and govern its feeling and action. Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man.” (parentheses added, Science & Health 393:10). Make sure you define “vitiate”. If they are young, talk about what it means here to “take possession” of body/thought/emotion.


PYCL #5: BREAD AND JAM.

My favorite “preserver” lesson activity is to talk about how we make jam or preserves. (Or any jarred/canned item). I like to bring in a jar of jam and some bread as a treat when we are done thinking together about what preserves are, how they are made. There are some great symbols in this process for spiritual purity, innocence, watchfulness.

Think about how we get the jam to a high temperature to kill off bacteria—”purify”. Young children don’t understand symbolism without clearly leading them through it, so you would need to state this obviously.

Also, the process of making preserves includes sealing out the air which provides bacteria the atmosphere to grow. Isn’t that a great image for not giving error the opportunity to grow in our thought?

Think of some examples in this week’s lesson where either this opportunity to let error grow in our thought was not given, or it was given. Consider having a few examples to share from your own life. See if the children can think of a time where they chose not to engage in bad thought or action/starved a bad idea for “air”.

After you have gone through the canning process with them and shared these parallels in spiritual progress, share some bread and jam together. It would be cool if you used a fresh jar of jam so they could hear it “pop” when you opened it, showing that it was sealed!

Have a great week in Sunday School.

 

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