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4 PYCLs: 1) WHAT ARE WE SUPER FOCUSED ON? 2A-C) TELL FEAR-OF-LOSS STORIES OF DEMETRIUS, THE PHARISEES, THE INSANE MAN, DRUG COMPANIES…  3) BRING A JUNK BOX TO SHOW HOW TO EMPTY MORTAL MIND/”BIND THE STRONG MAN”. 4) FOLLOW DIVINE DIRECTION TO BE YOUR HIGHEST SELF!
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“MATTER”
for Sunday, September 18, 2022

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


PYCL #1: WHAT “GODS” DO WE HAVE? WHAT ARE WE TRANSFIXED BY OR SUPER FOCUSED ON?

Ask the students what God is? Do they know the First Commandment?
What “other gods” might we have in our lives?
Look together at the Golden Text as quoted in our Bible lesson from the New Living Translation: “Can people make their own gods? These are not gods at all!”
Little ones might be interested in the upper- and lower-case spelling of God/gods. Having looked in on Abraham last week, who was an early listener to the “one God”, they may have some context.

What do we do to “create” other gods in our lives each day?
Are we super focused on our bodies?
Are we transfixed by video games?
Is it dessert that takes us in?
Are we only happy if we are entertained/never bored?
Some of these things are not inherently bad. We just have to think about how much of our thought and daily focus they take. For example, maybe we play an hour a day on our smartphones. But are we constantly obsessed with each notification and really wanting to check them? Obviously, for the youngest, the cell phone may not be a great example. But they can probably come up with some great ideas.

Just a caveat here. No one is going to enjoy having their Sunday School teacher “rag” on their use of electronics. This needs to be a discussion about what robs us of joy and power in the present, not a focus on the evils of technology. If you want to have a Sunday School project that focuses on electronics, I recommend it be one where you have specific assignments where each student does a little research of their own on some aspect of technology and brings that to Sunday School to share.
So, for example, with children from maybe 5th grade up, you could converse about this subject and ask one to do research about what constitutes “addiction”, can they bring a list of these signs?
Another student can bring a list of great things that technology has brought to our fingertips.
How does technology help with our personal interrelationships/friendships? How does it harm them? Gathering a lot of information over maybe some weeks, we can then sit down and sort through the advantages and disadvantages of technology and how to best use it without it becoming a “god” to us.


PYCL #2A: TELL THE STORY OF DEMETRIUS [& HIS FEAR OF IDENTITY & INCOME LOSS].

The Responsive Reading from Acts 19:24-29 and 1 Cor. 14:33 God; 8:5 has the story of a silversmith who made shrines for the goddess Diana in Ephesus. See if the children can figure out why Paul’s preaching would have done his business damage. Is there a parallel today?

If Jesus came today and told everyone through preaching and healing that actually God made man whole and free and there is no need for hospitals or drugs, do you think he would be met with open arms? There would be not only ridicule, but fury in the face of that kind of preaching.
Have things changed a lot in the last two thousand years?

Here is a story of literal “other gods”, but the real issue isn’t the other gods, it is the fear of loss of income, loss of identity. That is almost always the root of the challenge—fear. Notice that this altercation between Demetrius and Paul caused the city to be “filled with confusion”, and we can probably assume that there was also violence and anger involved. Fear, in this case of a loss of income and status, is what spurred the confusion and anger.

Maybe we can think together with the older ones about how this plays out in our politics, in school friendships and so on. What is really at the root of a skirmish? It isn’t always what we think. Matter and mortal mind want to “fight” for themselves, for an identity, for a sort of “survival” that “they” will lose in the face of the one God, the one true Identity of which we are all a part.


PYCL #2B: FIND OTHER EXAMPLES OF “DEMETRIUS STORIES” IN THIS LESSON.

In citation B3/Mark 3:7-11 Jesus, 22-27 the Scribes accuse Jesus of healing through Beelzebub. This is another example of the same sort of thing that Demetrius was experiencing. The Scribes and Pharisees were the respected members of Jewish society. They were the “authorities” on God and Jewish law. Jesus made them look bad by meeting the human need and sharing a view of God that did not require people to access God through the church hierarchy.

Really, the Scribes and Pharisees didn’t need to lose their positions or their respect, but they would have needed to be humble enough to lose their materialistic views of worship. When matter and rules are at the center of worship rather than love and Spirit, we are bound to fail.
So, isn’t this really a story of people trying to hold onto a material view of worship, like Demetrius?


PYCL #2C: THE INSANE MAN IN THE TOMBS IS ALSO A GREAT EXAMPLE OF A “DEMETRIUS STORY”!

This might seem an odd thing to say, but here, the insane man is offered healing and at first refuses because he fears the loss of his identity! He tells Jesus to go away. Jesus’ presence and understanding mean that he will no longer be identified as insane. This is a great example of how mortal mind and insanity will try to “fight” for a “real” sense of self when confronted by its own nothingness.

You can share some thoughts about handling feelings of sadness or anxiety. If we feel resistance to correcting those feelings, this is that same “fear” of losing that identity. This is true even when we think that we don’t “want” to feel sad or angry.
Are we listening to the mortal thoughts that are not ours, that want that continued identity?
Or, are we pushing those thoughts out—refusing to accept that we are one with those thoughts.
We belong to Mind, the one Mind, there are no other minds out there!


PYCL #3: USE A BOX FULL OF STUFF TO DEMONSTRATE HOW WE HAVE TO EMPTY MORTAL MIND/”BIND THE STRONG MAN”.

Bring in a box full of useless stuff, make sure it’s full for the purposes of this activity, and make sure the “stuff” is trash that isn’t interesting to the children who will be emptying it. Read or tell the story in citation B3 (see PYCL #2B) and also citation S10/399:29-6.
What is the “strong man” that Jesus talks about?
Mary Baker Eddy tells us in citation S10.
Also in citation S24/346:19-30 she tells us that “Material beliefs must be expelled to make room for spiritual understanding.”
What material beliefs do we need to “expel”? What does expel mean?
Have some fun listing such beliefs and throwing a piece of trash out of the box for every false belief they can name until the box is empty and ready for “spiritual understanding”.

Now have a fun time thinking together about our spiritual understanding. What is that?
Is it our certainty that Love is ever present, that matter is not a power, that there is only one God, that we have dominion, that each of us reflects intelligence and grace…?
Have some fun thinking about why we have to “make room” for spiritual understanding.
Materialism is often quite attractive, and even more often quite distracting. So, we have to make a conscious effort to empty our thought of such things, or the beauty of God just doesn’t appear to us.


PYCL #4: REVIEW THE COMMANDMENTS & HOW THEY HELP US OVERCOME MATTER OR MATERIAL VIEWPOINTS [& LEAD TO SAFETY, HEALING, PRESERVATION, FLOURISHING, AND PRODUCTIVITY].

Section 4 includes several Biblical passages that speak of law, commandments, righteousness, and the like. citation B6/Prov 3:1,2,5,7,8; citation B7/Ps. 25:1, 17, 18 21; citation B8/Ps. 92:12-14; citation B9/Job 11:17; and citation B11/Luke 10:19. These speak to how following God’s guidance (which includes the Commandments) lead to safety, healing, preservation, flourishing, and productivity.
Why would following divine direction help us in these things [that allow us to be the best versions of ourselves]?
When we are paying attention to the one true Consciousness that is Mind, we tend to make wise choices, have more inspired thoughts.
When we are conscious that Love is our true source we are inclined to say loving, supportive things.
Our Commandments underlie these behaviors in a beautiful way, so it’s worth reviewing them and taking them to a new spiritual level of practice.


Have a great week in Sunday School!

 

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