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

 “Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced”
for November 28, 2021

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO • 314-406-0041

If your students cannot yet read, have them say these words, just for fun. Since most of us who are studying this probably don’t believe in communing with those who have died, I like to think of what Necromancy means to us today in a practical way. I have found it inspiring to think of necromancy as the practice of looking to our past for anything, whether it is joy, sadness, anger, nostalgia, usefulness, purpose, or anything else. Since these younger children don’t have much in their rearview mirror yet, I think we can find this most useful when we are thinking of shorter-term things like a school break, a fun outing, or something like Christmas day. How are we approaching a holiday, for example? Are we hoping it will measure up to last year? Or, are we afraid it might be like last year? This week’s lesson reminds us to look to the power of God/Good today rather than a past set of circumstances or people. 

Mesmerism and hypnotism can be collected together, and Mary Baker Eddy adds the term “animal magnetism” in citation S10 where she says: “As named in Christian Science, animal magnetism or hypnotism is the specific term for error, or mortal mind.” (103:18)  So, we can use most of these terms interchangeably! (hypnotism, animal magnetism, error, mortal mind).

What does a hypnotist do? You can share some true-life examples if you wish. Explain that they are able to influence the thought of someone falsely. I have a friend who was a Christian Science practitioner and she was at a convention where it turned out that they had invited a hypnotist as entertainment after dinner. She began to affirm the presence and alertness of Mind/God. The hypnotist couldn’t seem to get anyone to be hypnotized. After a time, he looked out into the audience and asked if there was a Christian Scientist in the audience! My friend spoke up. He admitted that the only other time he had been unable to get anyone hypnotized had been in the presence of a Christian Scientist! This leads us to think together about how we are hypnotized in other ways than simply by an official hypnotist!

What are some ways that we can get our thought taken over by something besides God, Good? Has anyone ever felt overwhelmed with unhappiness about some sort of social situation? Has anyone found that all their thoughts were consumed with thinking about this situation? Younger children are great examples of how to let go of such thoughts. Have you ever watched pre-schoolers on a playground? They will get really angry at someone and less than a few minutes later they will again be playing happily together. What a great example of being willing to “…leave the old for the new…” cit. S12/323:32 Maybe we are being hypnotized when we are convinced that we are bad at a particular subject at school, or athletic or artistic endeavors?
How can we “wake up” and recognize the hypnotic suggestions about man and Life so that we aren’t fooled?

PYCL #2: WHO IS THE “CHILD” THAT IS BORN TO US? (Responsive Reading/Isaiah 9:6)
Obviously, to us, this is a prophecy of Jesus’ coming and the children should know it as such. But what about its meaning to us today? Is this a passage that only predicts Jesus’ coming, or does it tell us something more? Maybe this “child” should be born to us each day? This Christ child is a new, spiritual, true view of ourselves and others. This is something that is born again each day (sometimes more!) as we are aware and alert to God’s presence around us!
Can the students think of any ways that the Christ brings newness to their daily life?
What about when they recognize a loving thing that a friend does for them in school?
Isn’t that an appearance of the Christ child, giving us a truer view of God’s love for us?

Each time we let a slight or hurt go by without acknowledging it, we are welcoming that childlikeness that the Christ brings to our day. When we refuse to yield to fear or anxiety of any kind, we are enjoying the Christ’s childlike presence! See if you can come up together with other examples.
Maybe even think of the stories surrounding Jesus’ birth for ideas?
Are we looking for the brilliant light (star) when things are at their darkest/most challenging?
That light leads us to the Christ babe in our thought and experience.

Are we thinking with gratitude (bearing gifts) about the presence of Christ, the newness & good in our lives? Anyhow, these are a couple of thoughts on that. Obviously, you can work with citation S12 mentioned earlier “Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear, — this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony.” (323:32) You will need to define many of the words in this passage!

If you haven’t already done this with the little ones, bring in some paper grocery bags and other supplies to build “armor” for the children based on citation B13/Eph 6:13-17. What is the “whole armor of God”? Have some fun thinking about how God protects us from “evil”. What do we do to be aware of our safety? Come up with qualities and ideas that keep us safe and why they do this.

Purity is a quality that gives us protection from much evil. Why is that?  Jesus tells us that the pure in heart are blessed and will “see God”. If we truly see God, what can harm us?
When we are pure in heart we are looking always for the best, the good. We aren’t blandly accepting error when it presents itself to us!

Honesty can be a great protection. It keeps us out of all kinds of trouble! Persistence might be another quality that we want for our armor. Patience, meekness, and so on. I’m sure you can come up with many qualities, be sure to discuss specifically how they can keep us safe! In the end, these qualities, embodied, help us to recognize that we are not separated from God, this is why we are protected by them.

Write these qualities on the paper bag which you can use as a breast plate by cutting a head and arm holes in it. You can come up with ideas for a helmet, tape or tie pieces of paper over shins, on top of shoes, make a paper sword, and write qualities on each that seem the most appropriate (for example, the sword of truth or of spirit).

In citation B14/Ps.46:7,9,10 we have this passage included “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Talk about what it means to be still. Does it only mean that we must close our eyes and not move?
What kind of stillness is being asked of us? When we feel angry or frustrated we can tell that our thoughts are in turmoil. It’s like having a storm inside ourselves! Stillness feels like peace and joy.

What does the Word say after the part about being still? It tells us who we need to know as God! We need to know that God is the only power, not anger or frustration, but Love! We need to let God be lifted highest in our view of our day to day. Let that light of God’s goodness be “exalted” right here and now. Try practicing a few seconds of stillness, maybe 15 or so. Ask them to think about letting God’s thoughts in, like opening a door in our thought. See what comes in!

Check out citation S22/234:9-12, 31-3. We are told to become more familiar with good than with evil, and to “…guard against false beliefs as watchfully as we bar our doors against the approach of thieves and murderers.”  Have the children mime closing the door of their thinking by using their hands to show a closing or opening gate or door.

Make a list of thoughts we want to let in, and ones we want to shut the door on. Have the children decide and mime this opening and closing for each thought we share together. We keep out thieves and murderers for obvious reasons, but keeping out general “evil” helps us to experience greater happiness, joy, and peace!

I love the beginning of this passage that tells us to become “…more familiar with good than with evil…”. This reminds me of the stories that I have heard about how those whose job it is to discern counterfeit from real money spend more time studying the real money than looking at the false. It’s a great analogy to use to explain the call we must accept to constantly look for and work to discern the good, and not be sidetracked by the lie of evil!

Have a great week in Sunday School!!

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