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5 PYCLs: 1) CREATE MINI THANKSGIVING JOURNALS …  2)  TO SHARE AT THE THANKSGIVING SERVICE …  3) DESCRIBE EACH OTHER WITHOUT ANY PHYSICAL MARKERS. 4) REASON FROM THE RIGHT DIRECTION! 5) TIE-UP THE “STRONG MAN”.
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“SOUL AND BODY”
for Sunday, November 21, 2021

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


 PYCL #1: CREATE MINI THANKSGIVING GRATITUDE JOURNALS

Work together on some short gratitude “journals’. For younger children you could make these by folding smaller pieces of paper together and stapling them along the spine. Allow them to decorate with crayon and or stickers. Make a short list together of things they are each grateful for and then write it for them into each of their journals. This can then be taken home by each of them. I will just add that it is important to discuss that we are grateful for good, that all good comes from God, so we are really grateful for God!


PYCL #2: TALK ABOUT HOW TO SHARE GRATITUDE AT THE THANKSGIVING SERVICE.

In a similar vein, we can talk about how to share our gratitude articulately at the Thanksgiving service. When we share the things we are grateful for we can include God in that “list” because we are learning that all the good in our lives, our families, our activities, our friends, are really gifts from God.
What happens that might be different when we are grateful to God for the good in our lives, that is different from when we are just grateful in general? Both are good, but is there a difference? I think there is.

When we express and feel gratitude for God specifically, for Life, Truth, Love, etc., we are recognizing that the good is not random, or luck. We are recognizing that this great goodness is available to all of God’s children, and not a lucky few. And, we start to learn to welcome that ever-present goodness into our lives more intentionally. (So, we have more dominion, more power when we see and recognize God as the source of good!)

Have each student practice sharing a testimony of gratitude during class. Use a pretend microphone just for the fun of it. Ask why we bother to share gratitude? What does gratitude do? One thing it does is help us to recognize more often and readily, God’s presence and power and goodness around us! It also blesses and encourages others to feel and see this goodness.


PYCL #3: DESCRIBE EACH OTHER WITHOUT ANY PHYSICAL MARKERS. IS OUR BODY WHO WE ARE?

How should we think of our bodies? Are they who we are? Look at citation S4/285:15:
“The belief that a material body is man is a false conception of man.” What is a “conception”?
What do they think is a true conception of man, of themselves?
Can they describe themselves without any physical markers at all?
Can they describe each other in the class in this way?
Do they recognize themselves and each other with these descriptions?
What happens when we have a truer conception of ourselves that does not include a body?
Does this process mean that our body should be ignored and disrespected?
Should we stop doing things with our bodies, like playing sports/instruments etc.?
Our Responsive Reading this week includes a passage that was also in last week’s lesson from 2nd Cor 5:4 “…we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”
Talk about how the tabernacle here is a metaphor or symbol of the body.
Paul is helping us to understand that we are not trying to ignore and get rid of the body (unclothe it/reject it). But instead, we are wanting to clothe it in such a deep understanding of who we are, that our mortal sense of who we are (our body), is completely “swallowed up” by a true, spiritual understanding of ourselves!
In other words, we must progress, step by step, by showing by our actions, that we are embracing a more spiritual sense of man. More simply put, we can look to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount for how to see our neighbor, how to love our neighbor, how to behave towards ourselves, towards God, and towards our neighbor!


PYCL #4: REASON FROM THE RIGHT DIRECTION!

There’s a story that is told, I think, in one of the We Knew Mary Baker Eddy biographies, of a gathering of people who are debating how a fox fit its body through a tiny hole in a door. Its tail was sticking out the hole at the time. The point of the story is that the debate is based on looking at the evidence and trying to trace it back to a false cause. We are encouraged in citation S8/467:17-27 to reason from Spirit outward, rather than looking at the body and trying to determine a cause.

We cannot get an accurate picture of God and God’s goodness if we look to the body and wonder what God did to cause sickness, sadness, anger etc. God only causes and only creates the spiritual, good, whole. The physical body is not the man that God made. This doesn’t mean, as we mentioned before, that we ditch the body, but that our understanding of God’s spiritual man will help us to find that man more and more visible here and now, just as Jesus showed through his healing in this lesson of the man by the pool of Bethesda (not to mention the multitudes in the same section!).

This whole Pycl might be a bit much for the very young but the story of the fox can be shared, especially if you have a simple picture (a drawing) to start the discussion off!  You can even set them up by asking, “how did the fox/dog fit through that little hole?” After they have debated this for a time, then you can introduce the idea of making sure that we start our debates about matter from the right standpoint. (From the fact that the fox/dog never went through that hole at all!!!)


PYCL #5: TIE-UP THE “STRONG MAN”.

You could bring in some rope or fake handcuffs, etc. to illustrate this idea. Read or tell the story that Jesus tells when the Pharisees accuse him of healing through the devil. Make sure they understand the analogy of “a house divided against itself”. Why does it fall? You could illustrate this idea by assigning one child the job of putting a book in the center of the table, and another with the job of putting the book on a shelf. They could go back and forth all day and the book would never get put away because the assignment was constructed to work against that end. You can all have a good laugh at this futile activity. (Or think of a more creative way to illustrate it).

When they understand better the concept of working against each other, read what Mary Baker Eddy says about the “strong man” in citation S13/400:4 “Mortal mind is the “strong man”, which must be held in subjection before its influence upon health and morals can be removed.”

Mortal mind is the part of our thought that feels influenced by our body. It thinks that there are problems with our body—(injuries, illnesses, temptations, chemicals, genetics)—that can make us feel or do things that aren’t Godlike.
How do we “bind” mortal mind? What are some things we can do?
We can try being quiet, still, breathing and listening for thoughts from Love, just five deep breaths before we respond with anger, fear, sadness, can really help us “bind” mortal mind!

Even when we don’t feel well, we can bind this thought by saying to ourselves “I know that I am feeling lousy right now, that’s what mortal mind is telling me, but I am not going to declare this aloud because I know it is not the truth about me! Instead, I am going to go straight to what Love would tell me. Would Love tell me that I am sick? No!”
Something along those lines. You can hand them the cuffs or rope and joke about tying up our mortal thoughts! There are other ways that we can bind mortal mind. We can take a walk where we are praying by acknowledging God all around us. We can do a nice favor for someone without being asked. We can make a list of things we are grateful for. These help to rest control from stubborn mortal mind. Hopefully you can all come up with many more ideas for how to bind this mortal mind!

Have a great week in Sunday School!

 

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