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PYCL Q&As: Life Questions & Activities — Start a longer term synonym “project” (1) Make some telescopes (2)  Daily be born “from above!”(3)  Share how Hannah’s & your wholehearted, selfless prayers have been answered (4)
Act out the Good Samaritan story
(5)
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Life”
for Sunday, January 15, 2023

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


PYCL #1: LIFE IS MORE THAN BEING “ALIVE”.

Probably your students know that Life is a synonym for God. Why is this a name for God? It might be fun to think about that question. What are the qualities that life, or Life as God, might include? (Energy, joy, strength, flexibility, endurance, grace, being — as in the presence of consciousness, freshness, newness, growth…)

This subject kicks off our twice yearly study of the synonyms. Do you want to have a longer term synonym “project” to work with as you proceed through these topics? In the past we have made a toy train of separate boxes with each synonym as they arise, and filled each with qualities. We have made a mobile with synonyms and qualities, using Principle as the top of the “hanger”.

ACTIVITY: You/your class could draw a large tree on paper on the wall of your classroom and draw branches for each synonym, maybe Principle is the trunk? Then add leaves with qualities as you go? I know the possibilities are infinite, and I will keep thinking to see if something comes to me to add as we study these names for God.


PYCL #2: MAKE SOME TELESCOPES.

ACTIVITY: Grab some paper towel tubes or toilet paper tubes and turn them into “telescopes”. You can let the children wrap them in white paper that they have decorated, or bring in some stickers to let them stick to the tubes. Talk about what a real telescope does. It brings into focus, something specific that is far away and enlarges it.

Now think together about the strong current that runs through this lesson, of following Jesus’ example — keeping the Christ in your sights. Your students may be too young to read this aloud, but the Responsive Reading is a goldmine of lovely directives for living a life that is focused on this Christly path. (Col 3:12-16, Eph. 5:1,2,19-21 6:24). You can read these and share specific ideas with the younger crowd, and have the older crowd read it and talk it through.

Another aspect of telescopes is that they shut out everything around them, you are only viewing what you see through that small lens.
What do they think this signifies in our efforts to follow Jesus?
With “telescopes” in hand you can share ways that you can focus on the Christ qualities that you may want to especially magnify and express this coming week, or even today.


PYCL #3: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “BORN AGAIN”?
Daily be born “from above!”

Read together, or tell the story of Jesus meeting with Nicodemus (citation B3/John 3:1-7). Who was he? What was his job?
Why might he have wanted to meet with Jesus?
Why might he have wanted to meet “by night”?

Since being born again does not mean climbing back into your mom’s belly, what do you think Jesus was trying to convey to Nicodemus, and to us today? With older kids, have them name three ways that they can be born “of water and of Spirit”. If they are struggling, try looking at Section 3, cit. B11/Matt. 5:1-3,8, which includes two of the Beatitudes.
How might these help us to be born anew of water and Spirit?
How often should we be “born anothen (Greek) again (or “from above”? (See GEM from Cobbey Crisler.)

Obviously we are not talking about a material birth into matter.
What does this say about our study of Life?
Might it consist of a sense of being or consciousness that is outside of matter?  Maybe this leads to a discussion about life that is not material at all…what would that look like?


PYCL #4: SHARE HANNAH’S STORY & BACKSTORY. (+ your wholehearted prayers for God’s glory being answered.) 

Citation B9 contains part of Hannah’s story from the Bible (1st Sam. 1:2, 10,11,19,20,27,28). After reading about Jesus’ counsel to be born anew of Spirit, we have this story of a woman desperate for a child. Is this just a story about God granting a wish to someone who prayed really hard for something? I don’t think so, though I might be wrong. I think it might be almost the opposite. Hannah wanted to glorify God, to give to God.

The one thing that Hannah so deeply wanted, she was willing to give up, allow the priest to raise! This meant that after the child was weaned, she was willing to hand him over to Eli, the local priest and have him raise him. I suppose she could visit him there, but that’s hardly the same as raising your child.

You may want to go over the historical setting for this story. In Bible days, having children, and especially baby boys, was crucial to a woman’s standing in society. That might seem silly today, as we value women for far more than their ability to produce a male child. But that’s how it was, and there are several stories in the Bible that feature previously barren women giving birth to boys through prayer to God/Life. Some of them well after they were physically too old to have children (can the children guess who? Both Sarah and Elizabeth were considered well past the age of child bearing). You may be able to learn together of the nature of human will in expressing the Christ qualities that constitute life and being, and, indeed, eternal life (cit. B6/1John 2:25).

If we are willing to truly give up all our material sense of petty pleasures in our pursuit of Christly living, we will find that we have all that we need for a sense of completeness, wholeness, and satisfaction. I think this might be our lesson from Hannah this week? Perhaps her early desires for children were not so purely based, but by the time she prays in church for a child, she is ready to give “all” for Christ, dedicate her love fully to God.


PYCL #5: ACT OUT THE STORY OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN.

ACTIVITY: With the younger children it can really help them to remember a story and its meaning when they act it out. So, if you have enough children, or are feeling creative with the one or two that you have, try acting out this wonderful parable. (cit. B14/Luke 10: 25-37)

Why is this Good Samaritan parable in our Bible lesson on Life?
(Here you can go back to the ways that we are truly expressing Life as Jesus commanded–isn’t this story the essence of this kind of living?)

Why is this story the answer to the question of how to “inherit eternal life”?
Is Jesus talking about the same thing as the lawyer when he confirms that to live we should “love God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and they neighbor as thyself”? Do you think the lawyer was talking about eternal spiritual life, or “immortal mortality”? He might have been thinking spiritually, I don’t know, I’m just wondering!

One thing I do notice is that the lawyer was looking for an intellectual answer, rather than a living, vital answer that must be demonstrated. He was looking for a simple sort of rule that he could follow. But God/Life is about ever-new expressions of Love that are always expanding and growing in depth, breadth, and demonstration. Life is not static.

Have a great week in Sunday School!

 

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