Thank you for your loving support this Giving Tuesday!

6 PYCLs: 1) DEFINE GOD2) TO WHOM DOES GOD SPEAK?  3) THE “1ST GREAT COMMANDMENT” 4) MAKE A LADDER FOR RISING “ANGEL THOUGHTS.” 5) DON’T “HONOR” ANY POWER BUT LOVE!
6) BRING IN A PAIL OF SAND.

Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

 “God”
for January 2, 2021

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

 [W. My apologies that I had these almost ready to send in wee hours Thursday & somehow thought they’d been sent!]


PYCL #1: HOW DO WE DESCRIBE OR DEFINE GOD?
I love revisiting this question because it is always interesting to see how children conceive of God–beyond stating the synonyms. Make sure you pursue something more than these synonyms! If they tell you God is Love, for example then look at the definition of God in the first citation/587:5 and ask questions such as “What does Love know/see” , ”
How is Love all-acting or all-wise”? Go through the synonyms in this way with these defining statements.

I find it helpful to think in terms of laws. How does the law of Love operate, or Truth? How is this like gravity?
Try demonstrating how gravity works with the youngest students.
Ask them if there are exceptions to this law?
Do some people live outside of the law of gravity?
What if they don’t believe in it, does it then not apply to them?
What if they are wholly ignorant of this law, does it then not work for them? Now draw a line to Love or Truth or Mind, etc. Do they leave anyone out of their encompassing reach? (Here you can read together cit. B5/Ps. 139: 1, 3, 7-10)

If the children are of reading age, go through the lesson together and see all the ways that God is described in terms of “presence”, “power”, communication, being/identity. When you are all done, try asking them to redefine God based on your conversations in Sunday School.


PYCL #2: TO WHOM DOES GOD COMMUNICATE OR SPEAK?
I love all the examples in this week’s lesson of how God speaks to different people. After sharing each story–Moses and the burning bush (Ex. 3:1-14/cit. B2), Jacob and the ladder (Gen. 28:10/cit. B6), Jesus healing the boy (Luke 9:38/cit. B11), and the day of Pentecost (Luke 2/cit. B15) –ask and wonder together about how God was speaking in each case. Were these people (including the “multitudes” that participated in the Pentecost celebration!) special in some way that makes them different from you?

If the children talk about Moses’ or Jacob’s greatness…you might remind them that Moses murdered an Egyptian, which was why he was in the desert tending his father in law’s sheep in the first place! And Jacob had made an enemy of his brother by cheating him not once, but twice, out of important inheritances. I think we are being told here that Love/Mind is always communicating good to its creation. Our job is to listen, to hear, to act on God’s direction. So, now get some ideas about what God is communicating to us.

What is Mind telling us right here in Sunday School? Have some examples ready to share of ways you heard God speaking to you this week. I had a moment where I clearly felt that I was being led to think more carefully about how I participated in a conversation while on a walk last week. It wasn’t a significant conversation, I just felt impelled to check my tongue, to think about what I could add in a positive vein, or not say at all, and be a present listener. It wasn’t a big thing, just a conscious thing. These are ways that Mind is speaking to us if we are listening.

With the little ones, it could be hearing a nudge to be obedient in a certain circumstance, or it could be to, like me, check our tongue when we are tempted to say something, even if it’s just unnecessary, not evil. Is God speaking to us when we know we should do something but we are resisting doing it? The point here is to understand that Mind speaks to us in ways we understand and can hear.

It is not necessarily through a burning bush, or a ladder dream, or speaking foreign languages that we don’t speak. It is a daily and hourly thing that happens when we are listening. You could also read the children’s story “Travis Talks With God”. It’s a great one to address this kind of speaking and listening.


PYCL #3: THE “FIRST GREAT COMMANDMENT” FROM DEUT. 6:4, 5/citation B1.

This is the Commandment that Jesus quotes (along with the second which is to love your neighbor as yourself). What does it mean to love God with all your heart, soul, and might? There’s an awesome article by Mark Swinney about this in the July 2021 Journal called “Your Primary Life Giving Purpose” https://journal.christianscience.com/issues/2021/7/139-07/your-primary-life-giving-purpose, if you are interested in some prep work on this subject! But even if this is too much for younger children, we can speak to them about what it looks like in a day to “love God with all your heart/soul/might”.

One idea from that article that might work here is that to “love God with all your heart” can mean that we take love to each task we do. We can make our bed with a conscious sense of God’s love. We can think about it very alertly while tucking in the sheets, or straightening the bedspread or comforter. We can think with gratitude about our bed, the sheets and blankets that keep us warm, the washer and dryer that make cleaning them so easy (Have they ever tried washing clothes by hand?! It’s a lot of work, especially wringing them out!!). If the children are young they can help one of their parents with this making of beds and appreciate the love that inspires a parent to help them.

Find other acts that can be fully felt as loving God with all our heart! Then do this with “soul” and “might” (you can add “mind” too, as this appears in other places where this commandment is stated and it’s a great one to think about with this kind of attention!). At the end of this exercise we will have a much clearer sense of how we should be thinking of God in our daily lives!


PYCL #4: MAKE A LADDER FOR RISING “ANGEL THOUGHTS”.

Read the story of Jacob as he heads (escaping the wrath of his brother) to Haran. (Genesis 28:10-16/cit. B6) What does the ladder represent in this story? How do we use ladders in our lives? We use them to reach things above us, things that we can’t reach any other way. Can we think about this as if we are reaching for more spiritual understanding of God and His love for us? Jacob had a pretty material sense of how he was provided for. He thought he had to get what he needed through trickery. He didn’t see Love as the great provider of all good. You can even point out that after all that Jacob did, all the ways he deceived others, he eventually found that while he was very wealthy, his brother from whom he originally stole so much, also succeeded in amassing great wealth. God provided for them both–no need to deceive in order to get ahead.

Another aspect to the ladder is the sense of “connection” that it illustrates. God is never “out of reach” but we are connected in a way that is practical and understandable. Together you could all draw ladders on paper, or make a ladder from paper. On each rung write a quality that you can demonstrate that will help you to “rise” higher in your understanding of God and hear what Love is telling you each day. Even the two sides of the ladder can be included in this labeling process. For example, maybe you need patience with your younger sibling to “rise” so that you can hear what Love is telling you about how much you actually enjoy riding bikes with them. This way you may be able to let go of anything unkind that you might want to say about their “slowness”.

Another rung might have “gentleness” on it–you will not raise your voice or be rough in your interactions with others because you want to feel Love’s tenderness surrounding you and have a higher relationship with those around you. One rung might be “joy”. You get the idea. A ladder that you add rungs to could be stuck to one wall of your Sunday School class so that you can add “rungs” at any time as ideas occur.


PYCL #5: DON’T “HONOR” ANY POWER BUT LOVE!

The whole third section speaks to God’s power. In citation S11 Mary Baker Eddy states “Omnipotence has all-power, and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God.” (p. 228:25-27, italics added) This week I have been thinking about what other “powers” I might be tempted to acknowledge. We cannot “honor” temper, sadness, frustration, illness, resentment, pain and so on. What does it mean to “honor” something? It might mean here that we give it life, we pay attention to it, we talk about it or act on its influence.

If we are honoring any of these through our behavior or thought, we are dishonoring God. This is to our benefit of course! Another passage from the lesson confirms this: “There is but one way to heaven, harmony, and Christ in divine Science shows us this way. It is to know no other reality–to have no other consciousness of life–than good, God and His reflection, and to rise superior to the so-called pain and pleasure of the senses.” cit. S20/242


PYCL #6: BRING IN A PAIL OF SAND.

Hopefully you have access to some sand! This is really a small thing, but I think it illustrates a really big idea! In our Responsive Reading this week we have this statement from Ps. 147: “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” This is referring to how vast God’s knowledge is, and, by implication, how well He knows each of us. It is known today that there are more stars than grains of sand on all the beaches in the world! Perhaps this fact was unknown to the Psalmist, but even the number of visible stars in the day before electric lighting must have been truly impressive. Have the children look at the sand, even take a small bit in front of them and think about counting out the grains, just to get an idea, a tiny inkling of the vastness of Mind, or Love and that kind of intelligence, presence and power.

Have a great week in Sunday School!! 

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