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[PCYL: Connect omnipotence to Bible events!(1) Get off a roller coaster of ups & downs! (3)]
P
ossible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced”
for June 3, 2018

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkinmail.com (314) 406-0041

Pycl #1: Some discussion of God's power, omnipotence, is necessary to address the subject this week. We could think of this subject with all its long words in terms of all that would seem to oppose God and God's goodness. Can they come up with some things in daily life that seem to oppose goodness? You might have to get the "ball rolling" by sharing a moment in your week that caused you to feel frustrated, sad, or ill, etc. Then you could explain how sadness might be something that springs from the belief in mesmerism or hypnotism, for example. It would be good to have a way to illustrate that!

Feel free to connect this idea of omnipotence with any of the Bible stories. You can see how it connects in different ways with, say, the story of Balaam, who is asked to curse the Children of Israel for the king of the Moabites. That would be asking someone to do something evil to someone else. In this case we know that God is loving and supporting the Children of Israel. Can we broaden this to understand how God loves all His children and never curses, but only blesses? There is only the omnipotence of goodness. Evil may look like it has power or success for a time, but always falls in the end.

And then we have the story of Jesus healing the lunatic man who lives in the tombs and sometimes in the hills. Draw a parallel with our emotions here. What has dominion over man, our feelings, or divine Love? Did this man's resistance to Christ Jesus' healing power have any purchase? These two stories both illustrate how it is that God has dominion over whatever seems to oppose His good.

Pycl #2: Check out the definition of "Adversary" in citation S7. Can we use this definition to address the challenges of sibling/friend/cabin-mate inharmony? The opposite of opposing, could be supporting, maybe agreeing. The Bible tells us/Jesus tells us to "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him;" (Matt 5:25) What does this mean, do we have to agree with error? I don't think so, but I do think that in not "fighting with" error we take away any power that it seems to possess.

Think about what the definition of adversary says about how it is one who does not "construct". So can we help be "constructive"? Build others up rather than hinder them? Obviously we will oppose what is evil or untrue, but this is never a person. Often we are only experiencing a difference of opinion… and opinions are not spiritual, as our Leader tells us!

How do we decide when it is right to oppose and when to build up? Can you share examples from your experience? How does this lead into Mrs. Eddy's admonition to "Stand porter at the door of thought." (S18) How do we do this? Look at the previous and following citations (S17 and S19) for some ideas! I love that in this lesson hatred is equivalent to "mesmerism" or "hypnotism". Why? Does citation B9 give us a clue? Are we ever "free" when we feel hate? Or are we actually "serving" someone other than God/Love?

You could talk to littler ones in light of serving people. When we bring someone some food, or a drink or something they need, we are serving them. This should be an act of love for it to be true service. This act of love is a reflection of Love divine, or God. Therefore, we are working in service of Love and obedient to Love. There is no room in that service for hatred or resentment, right? If we were to watch our thought and check if there was resentment, we will know then whether we are serving Love or a false "god" of resentment or hatred!

You could have the kids act out serving each other, carrying a tray with something on it. How are they thinking while they serve? What is the happiest way to serve another. Can they think of other ways that people serve each other? What about spending time with someone who is stuck in their house or their bed, keeping them company and visiting for awhile? Can you design a service "project" together that will bless your community? Your family? A church member? What will we hold in thought while doing such a project?

Pycl #3: If the children don't know much about the Bible story of the man living in the tombs and mountains, I think this is an important one to share for a variety of reasons. Some of them are stated in the first Pycl. But just understanding the mesmeric imposition that is symbolized by this man's manic "highs and lows" (mountains and tombs) and how the Christ heals it, is important.

I shared a few thoughts in this week's Met on the CedarS website, but just to touch on these we can ask a few questions? Are we willing to let go of our own versions of "insanity": hatred/depression/false views of all kinds? This is not to oversimplify the challenge at hand; I am not implying that we "choose" to be depressed and so on. But I do think we have to ask ourselves the question of whether we are willing to relinquish any labels of imperfection or a lack of wholeness.

Another interesting angle is the fact that this man calls himself "legion". He is naming "his" insanity, at Jesus' request. Sometimes this recognition is a way of taking away its seeming power. In this case the suggestion is very symbolic because a Roman legion contained about 5,000 men! That's a lot of soldiers; doesn't that speak to the sense of the apparent "power" of this illness? Notice too that the townsfolk couldn't even keep him chained up! These are just a few of the ideas that enrich our understanding of one of the many stories in the Scriptures. These stories stick with us and are one of the best things we can use as a basis for Sunday School sharing, especially when we dig deep and understand more about how they apply to us today!

Pycl #4: Ask the children how they think error comes to us and convinces us to listen? How do we recognize it? I've been talking to my boys about it this week. If it came to us in a red spandex suit with horns on its head, we'd be much less likely to take error seriously! But it presents itself as our own thought, and so we somehow think it is legitimate.

In citation B2 we have God telling us that he is "…against them that prophesy false dreams…and cause my people to err by their lies…" Could that be a bit like allowing erroneous thoughts about ourselves to govern our day? Or in citation S24, we are given a way of identifying such thoughts or prophecies—discerning whether they are from God or from error. When we understand Truth and Love we are led "…to the discernment of the divine idea." This just means that if what we are doing leads us to understand and perceive God and His Goodness, then it's something that is from God, from Good/Mind. If not, it's a false idea/error/false prophecy.

Pycl #5: Finally, for some of the youngest ones there are a few powerful images in the Golden Text and Responsive Reading (RR): "With God's help we shall do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes." from the NLT. Go ahead and have them think about the imagery here. They can practice "trampling" their foes (name them), as long as they understand that really, it is God that gives us that power.

And from the RR: "…let them fall by their own counsels;" is also written "…let them be caught in their own traps." Can the children imagine what that might mean? Have they ever seen that kind of thing happen? I can think of times when an apparent evil that I was experiencing in my life seemed like its downfall came when it was "caught in its own trap". Can you think of an example of this? Talk about how this might happen.

Humor is a good "trap" for error. Error might come as an idea of allowing someone's hurtful words to offend us, but what if we laugh with them instead? Isn't this like error getting "trapped" all by itself. I'm not sure humor is a trap that error "set", but you may think of other, better examples!

Have a great Sunday School with this powerful lesson!

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