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PYCLs:  DEFINE GOD. (1) HOW DOES UNDERSTANDING WHAT OR WHO GOD IS, HELP US WITH HEALING? (2) “CROWN [THIS] YEAR WITH GOODNESS;” (3) WHERE IS GOOD IN THE “EARTHQUAKE, WIND, AND FIRE”? (4) HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THERE IS GOOD/GOD? (5)
P
ossible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“GOD”
for Sunday, January 1, 2023

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


PYCL #1: DEFINE GOD.

Have fun with this. If the children are of writing age, have them write a definition. Encourage them to use their own words. If they want to use synonyms they should be prepared to define how those synonyms define God to them–how do they see those synonyms as actively appearing as the presence of God in their lives each day.

If the children are younger you can have them tell you and you write it down, or you could even have them “draw” God and explain their drawing to you. Can you draw God? Can you draw Good? Talk about the theme of God as Good this week. Is Good another synonym for God, or just a quality of God? Check out Christie’s met this week on the Cedarscamps website for a fun example that she borrowed from another met contributor John Biggs.  https://cedarscamps.org/inspiration/article/good/

I have often shared that this work of defining God must go on regularly, both for ourselves and for our Sunday School students. It’s strange how even those of us raised in Christian Science can end up adopting traditional theological views of God, punishment, judgement, sin, and “divine intervention”, all completely unwittingly!
By asking ourselves and our students regularly how we/they define God, we can remind ourselves of God’s nature as the law of Love, of Truth, of Life. We can remember that there is no “spiritual guy” up there keeping track of our doings like a more spiritual version of Santa Claus. God, Good, knows only Good and Good’s manifestation. (Being that we have just past Christmas you can bring the Santa Claus comparison in for a laugh).
With the very youngest children you can work with the synonyms for sure. Talk about what Life, for example, knows. Can Life know death? Can Life know about sadness, tiredness, a lack of liveliness? Or does Life only know what it encompasses?

Think about a cat. Does a cat know about what it is like to be a dog? No! They only know what it is like to be a cat, they think cat thoughts and so on. God and what we know of God or Good does not come from matter. One explanation that helps us understand this is in citation S22/264:15. When we stop looking to matter to give us our understanding of Spirit, we can then make better progress on all fronts toward this deeper connection that we have with divine Being or Good.

Maybe you should create a working definition of God to put up in your class. Revisit this regularly and see how it holds up. How did the students see Good at work in their lives that week based on their definition of God. Does the definition need to change, expand, or narrow?


PYCL #2: HOW DOES UNDERSTANDING WHAT OR WHO GOD IS, HELP US WITH HEALING?

When we realize that God/Good is within us, in our kingdom within that Jesus spoke of, we realize that we have access to God’s peace, health, intelligence, ability, and so on. In the same passage quoted above, we find that we can find “…all in God, good…” and that in so doing, we need no “…other consciousness.”  (cit. S22/264:15)  The consciousness of Good’s work and presence in our experience means that we have no “other” consciousness in that moment. Most of us are working on moments, rather than constant stretches. But those moments are gloriously free of pain, fear, sickness, unhappiness and so on.

Try, with older children, taking a few silent moments to connect with the Good that is within. There are some great access points, gratitude is one of them. Discuss how and why gratitude brings us this access to Good. When we acknowledge the source of good in our lives as infinite, expansive, divine, then we realize what Paul tells us in citation B18/Romans 8:38,39.

A clearer understanding of God also helps us with healing because it tells us who we are as God’s (Good’s) expression. Good is shaping us and our actions every moment. If our actions do not reflect that Good, then we are being fooled by a false impression of ourselves. In other words we are accepting a false identity/fake ID!

Here is an aid to proper identity understanding: citation S18/495:14-16, 20.
When we only let Good’s likeness live/abide in our thought, when we let a Christianly Scientific understanding of our very being take the place of material sense, then we see our true selfhood.

Ask the slightly older students if they would be willing to engage in a scientific experiment in the upcoming week. Memorize this passage and apply it to any situation that doesn’t seem like the outcome of Good. Report back next week on their results.
Were they able to “allow nothing but [Good’s] likeness to abide” in [their] thought?
Did their understanding of that circumstance change?


PYCL #3: LET’S “CROWN [THIS] YEAR WITH GOODNESS;”
(Golden Text From Ps. 65:2,11)

It’s the start of a new year. You can talk about whether that is meaningful.
Look up Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of “year” in Science and Health.
Is there anything about the word year that is not material?
It is clearly a measurement of time. But it can also give us “space for repentance”, for rethinking things…

It looks like what we are really aiming for is moments of “divine consciousness”, because that is a moment that is timeless, or infinite.
What does it mean to “crown” a year?
What are crowns used for?
With little ones make or bring paper crowns for each and have a little chat about what a crown is the symbol of. If Good is reigning/wearing the crown, then what kinds of things can we expect from a new year? How can we take part in this unfolding of God’s goodness?


PYCL #4: WHERE IS GOOD IN THE “EARTHQUAKE, WIND, AND FIRE”?

This is kind of the perennial question that we ask. Where is God when we are surrounded by what seem like destructive forces, whether literal or mental? Read this story from 1st Kings 19:9-12 about Elijah in the cave.
Don’t assume that the children will understand the implication that God is in the “still small voice”.
What does that “still small voice” sound like to us on a daily basis?
How does it appear to us today? (It could be different for each student!).
When we are surrounded by evidence that Good does not “wear the crown”, as we suggested in the Pycl above, how do we find that “still small voice” or presence of Good right there? We look into consciousness. This is where we find spiritual reality.

Elijah had been fasting and praying for many, many days. He was, no doubt, listening deeply for Good’s message. Remind the children of the background for this story, or read it from the Bible. Elijah seemed here to be suicidal. He felt alone, despondent.
What kind of earthquake, wind, and fire was Elijah facing?
Was it feeling alone in his worship of God?
Was it the death threat from queen Jezebel?
This story is not an old and outdated one. It is very much speaking to us today! What are today’s “earthquakes, winds, and fires”?
How do we hear the “still small voice”?
Can you share a personal example?


PYCL #5: HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THERE IS GOOD/GOD?

I am enjoying the answer to this question in citation S19/265:23-26. There is an inherent desire for goodness in each of us. We may get lost along the way in our search, but everyone wants to have goodness in their life, some of us just get misled in our travels.
It is also helpful to remember that it is when we lose our human sense of peace that we search more deeply for the source of joy and goodness. This is why we can actually rejoice when the going seems tough, because we know that this is our opportunity to reach for heavenly good!

Think about some people we know that maybe we find challenging to love or get along with. Can we take a moment to acknowledge or think about how they may be wanting good in their lives just as much as we do?
Perhaps they are in a struggle that we don’t understand. Can the children see how this might be true? Maybe they don’t look like it right now, but can they conceive of that person as at one time wanting good? Everyone wants good in their lives, they may not be looking for it at the moment, but they welcome it when it comes.
The point here is that good is natural to us. Because we are the offspring of Good, spiritually, it is inherent in our consciousness.
We can certainly ignore that consciousness and go around in a stupor that is not aware of our goodness. But when we experience consciousness, we experience the presence of Good. It is within each of us. It is where we all, eventually, turn.

Have an awesome Sunday School class!

 

 

 

 

 

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