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Pycl: Persistently BEAT down the LIE of being UNWORTHY. Feel Love’s PRESENCE face to face.
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Mortals and Immortals”
for May 16, 2021

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

Pycl #1: PERSISTENTLY BEAT down the LIE of being UNWORTHY. FEEL Love’s PRESENCE face to face.
Remember last week when we found that we are not mortals/Adams and Eves/dust men, trying to get back into a “paradise”? Rather, we found, man is the image of the Divine, given dominion, always having the kingdom right within? Well, this week we are delving more into this idea. We do seem to have to contend with the testimony of physical sense which wants us to believe that we are separate material beings from Love.

We have a whole bunch of examples in this lesson that point to looking/seeing/discerning the real man in spite of our senses. Sometimes this looks a bit like a “wrestling match” as with the story of Jacob in our Responsive Reading from Genesis 32:24-30. Here we are given an example of the persistent need to resist the stronger pulls of matter in our lives—the things that tell us we are unworthy, not smart or spiritually minded enough, strong enough, good enough, etc. These are like those centers of strength in the body that are represented here by the “thigh” and hip joint of Jacob.

When we refuse to give up until we see our true identity—it might seem like becoming a whole new self as it did for Jacob! – we are rewarded by a view of “God face to face”. What do you think that means? What does seeing God “face to face” look like/feel like? When we meet someone “face to face” that means “in person”, rather than over the phone or internet, etc. There is nothing “between” us and the other person. There is a sense of closeness, of understanding, or potentially greater understanding, an easier access to the love that is shared. Can you think of other words to describe what this face to face with Love or Mind, etc. might look or feel like? One result of this wrestling is the “thinning” of the strength of error or material sense, which is like a barrier between us and God. So, seeing God face to face is a great way to think of how we can feel when we are less impressed with matter being something “substantial”.

Pycl #2: See God’s & man’s true “face” this week in Jacob, Noah, Joshua, Jesus, Stephen…
In each case the people involved (Jesus with both children and the leper) got clearer glimpses of themselves, the situation they were in, or God and God’s power, or all three! These stories are all fairly short so looking at each with this idea in mind and asking the students to share their insights on how they align with this theme might be interesting. What is the lesson for us in these stories & this theme?

What are we to look to? Explore together how to fix “our gaze on the realities supernal…”
Citation S21/261:27 tells us “Fixing your gaze on the realities supernal, you will rise to the spiritual consciousness of being..” What does this mean and how does this apply to us each day?
One way to look at this is to think of what we wake up with in our thought each day.
Do we awake thinking about the same limitations and challenges that we faced yesterday, last month, our whole life? Or, do we ask “what do you see today Father?”
“How are You thinking about me today?” “What would Jesus think about me today?”
Come up with questions together that might lead us to “fixing our gaze on the realities supernal”!
(This citation offers a bounce-back resilience discussion example in CedarS GEMs.)

Pycl #3: Jesus holds up children as examples of the true Christlike man. Why?
Ask the students. If we feel like we are no longer childlike in our thoughts, is there a way “back” to our right sense of innocence, faith, certainty, trust, freedom, and joy? One analogy might be to think of the Adam man as being raised from the dirt. If we are not careful, “growing up” is like constantly sinking deeper and deeper into sticky mud. The mud is like our sense of matter as reality–it feels like we get stuck in it! It tends to draw us deeper and deeper into it. If you have ever played in silt near the banks of a muddy river you may have experienced the sensation of sinking deeper and deeper into the silt as you jump or wiggle around. We used to play this way in the silt in Alaska, but have found the same here in Missouri near some rivers and creeks. You can even end up leaving a boot or shoe behind in the mud, it sucks on so tightly! But, if you stand still you don’t sink at all! Matter is kind of like that. The more you think about it, engage it, struggle with it, think about it, even enjoy it…the deeper you sink, until you really feel stuck! But if you stand firm and don’t get drawn into “struggling and jumping around in it”, matter won’t be such an attractive force. Fortunately, just like mud, it is never beyond our means to get unstuck because, like mud, matter has no true substance, we can “wash” it out of our experience by turning toward the real substance of Love. While playing in the mud might be childlike, sinking into the suggestions of matter as “who we are” is definitely not part of that childlike man that Jesus holds up as a model.  Other citations: S16/262:7-16,24.

Pycl #4: Choose to “cover” our friends’ faults rather than pointing them out… Lessons from the story of Noah’s sons & the three degrees in the “Scientific Translation of Mortal Mind.”
I like the way the story of Noah’s sons this week aligns with the three degrees in the “Scientific Translation of Mortal Mind”. While I can only guess that Mary Baker Eddy chose the definitions of these sons through direct inspiration—as Shem’s and Japheth’s definitions differ from one another—we can have some fun seeing how each son aligns with a specific degree. Ham, who chose to point out Noah’s deficiency, aligns with the 1st degree, Shem with the 2nd and Japheth with 3rd. Think about what the sons were doing by “covering” their father in his tent. Can we choose to “cover” our friends’ faults rather than pointing them out to others?

Can we go even higher and see others clearly as God’s children (our theme here this week right?!)? In other words, even more than “covering” another’s “sins”, could we see them so purely that we see that any “sins” are not theirs at all?! We stop identifying other people with error—and hopefully do the same for ourselves!

I also think it is helpful to ask if we should expect to skip the first two degrees in our own experience and go straight to the 3rd? It seems like sometimes that is what Christian Scientists try to do. In fact, we are sometimes dipping our toes in all three at once! But truly what we are needing is to demonstrate some level of 2 and 3 each day. It is always about daily demonstration and not staying somewhere in the hypothetical “air” where man is spiritual, but we are not seeing this demonstrated in our own experience.

Pycl #5: Challenge your class to work on “clothing” ourselves in qualities that are spiritual.
In line with the question above—we have some beautiful citations from the Bible this week that we can work with. For example, citation B4/2Cor 5:1,4. Here we are being told that we are not trying to get rid of our material body (“this tabernacle”), not be “unclothed”, but “clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” To me this points to the idea that we are working to allow our growing understanding and love for God and man become such that the material picture becomes less and less of an obstacle to our view of this truth.

Challenge the students to work on this idea of “clothing” ourselves in qualities that are spiritual. If they are young you could even bring in some easy dress up clothing to put on one article at a time as we share what quality that article represents.

Pycl #6: Illustrate actually wiping away dirt and despair and feeling overwhelmed!
One final sort of silly idea is to look at Section 3 which deals with Joshua’s despair and with citations that might help us to meet our own sense of despair at times. Have any of the students felt like things were too overwhelming for them to find God helpful? Maybe the answer is to “shake thyself from the dust:” The Message says here “Brush off the dust and get to your feet,”. How does dust obscure your view, what does it do when it gets in your eyes or all over your face?

Think about how we can get fooled and discouraged when we can’t see our goodness clearly but are fooled by a “dusty” view of ourselves! If you are in person, bring some wet wipes and take a moment to have them each wipe off their face. If you are particularly fond of play, even on Zoom you could smear your own face with some dirt or mud, or something like soft chocolate and then use a wipe to wipe it away.

Talk about how the dirt never actually is attached to you, any more than a bad action or something someone says that is not kind, is actually attached to them or to you! It can be “wiped” away, just like you did with a wet wipe!

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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