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PYCLs marinated in “midnight OIL” of looking to God for late-night “consecration … inspiration.” (#1, #3) Practice shaking off lies! (#5)
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“God the Preserver of Man”
for Sunday, December 10
, 2023

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO [titles/format by wee-hour editor, Warren]
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com • 314-406-0041


PYCL #1: Practice what it means to “look to the hills” metaphorically

In our Responsive Reading (RR) this week we have a couple of verses that might be fun to work with in Sunday School. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Ps. 121:1,2/RR

If the children are a little older you can talk to them about what it means to “look to the hills”. The hills could be seen as a metaphor for higher thought, more spiritual thinking. This is followed by the idea of looking to God (the Creator) for our help rather than what we tend to look to.

Think together about what we trust in our daily lives. Do we trust that we have enough personal intelligence to get through a day in school successfully?
Do we trust a friend or family member for our happiness?
As an adult, we might be tempted to trust a fat bank account in order to feel secure.

Ask the children if they can think about what they are trusting for their happiness, success, etc. Perhaps they are trusting talent, diet, exercise, hard work…These things are not bad in and of themselves, but it is helpful to regard, for example, exercise, as an expression of health, vigor, and Life, rather than as something that we do in order to get these things. We practice, work hard, behave with moderation, not to “get” God’s goodness, but because these things are expressions of Mind and Life, and develop our “spiritual perception”. Citation S26/203:13 tells us “Spiritual perception brings out the possibilities of being, destroys reliance on aught but God, and so makes man the image of his Maker in deed and in truth.”

It is spiritual perception that we want to develop because it reveals the infinite possibilities of being! Isn’t it just these possibilities that we are hoping to see when we exercise/study/practice our sport or instrument or art?
Spiritual perception reveals to us what God is already giving us!
This is why it is so cool that the Responsive Reading that tells us our help comes from the Lord ! It doesn’t come from friends, family, teachers, or even ourselves/our own “hard work”!


PYCL #2: What does it mean to “lean on” or “trust” God?

Memorize citation S5/vii:1-2 “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings.” With the younger ones, talk about what “sustaining” means. Demonstrate a visual to define “leaning”. You can do this with something on the table, or you can actually stand up with the little kids and have them lean on you literally.

Talk about how you may want to find something really strong to lean on if you are going to totally rely on it to hold you right? You don’t want it to move, bend, slip, etc.

Think about what we rely on in life. Do we rely on our moms and dads to feed us and shelter us? Sure! Isn’t that a reflection of how God is caring for us? (Maybe we can think about giving God gratitude (as well as our parents) for all that Love is doing, since Love is responsible for every good thing in our lives.) A little like the previous PYCL, come up with all the things we rely on to give us joy, intelligence, success.

Next, think about what it means to lean on the “sustaining infinite”.
What can we expect from that, (and what is that?!).
How do we “lean” on God? When we lean on Truth, for example, we trust that when we are brave enough to be always honest, good will come of this practice. We ourselves will be trusted, relied on!
Go through the synonyms and think about what it means to lean on each one.


PYCL #3: Bring in small “OIL” cans to apply to us today.

You can make up some containers thing, since I don’t know what these might look like today. Have each child either write out or work on memorizing Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of “Oil” in citation S11/592:25

Think about the symbolism of oil. What does it do?
It can lubricate/cool things that have friction. It makes things work better.
In food it keeps things from sticking to the pan, it flavors, and it can enrich the taste, it can keep things from cracking and drying. And maybe there are more things that it does! Now, what do these things mean spiritually?

If you have containers you can put labels on them with the definition of Oil. Or feel free to have them write short statements that express what they see as the function of oil, spiritually. Gratitude can be an “oil”, forgiveness can certainly be an “oil”. Kindness, tenderness, generosity…you get the idea!

Now read or tell the story in Section 2 from 2nd Kings 4:1-7/cit. B6 about the widow woman who goes to Elisha for help with her family’s needs.
Knowing what oil stands for, what can the children perceive about this story that might go beyond pouring oil “magically” from one vessel into many?
What kind of spiritual law is being demonstrated in this story?

How does this story apply to us today?
Consider what it means that this woman had oil in her “house”. In Mary Baker Eddy’s spiritual translation of the 23rd Psalm she uses “consciousness” as a synonym for “house”. (SH 578:16) Does that give us a spiritual sense of what this story is telling us today? What qualities that oil represents, were present in her consciousness?

Do we have to have an “Elisha” to make this abundance known to us?
Notice that citation B8, the first one in the next section, says “I shall be anointed with fresh oil”. (Ps.92:10)  What does that mean to us?


PYCL #4: Have some meaningful fun with all the stories about Paul.

First we have the story in Section 3 about Paul raising from the dead the young man after he’d fallen from the third loft. (cit. B9/Acts 13:16,23,30-33, 44,49,52).
What does this story tell us about God’s protection?

While it does appear that accidents occur, Paul overcame that belief.
Why did that happen for Paul? What was he seeing that is often invisible to us?

Remember that “spiritual perception” we talked about in PYCL #1?
Is this healing a special miracle that Paul performed, or a manifestation of Paul’s true understanding or perception of God’s constant care and government? Think about this together.

How does this law of protection apply in Section 4 where Paul and everyone on his ship is saved in a shipwreck? (Acts 27:1,2,20-24, 41-44/cit. B14) In this case we are comparing the supposed power of nature to God’s safe government of creation and the way that, again, Paul saw his safety as only in God (like looking to God only for our help in the Responsive Reading).

How does this law work when Paul shook off the poisonous viper in Section 5? (cit. B15/Acts 28:1-3,5)  The laws of nature, or poison…or maybe the idea that creation has “good and bad” creatures?
Or, it could be the laws of “chance”, or accident that we are addressing?
Any of these ideas can be discussed and dealt with!


PYCL #5: Lessons to learn & use from how Paul shook off the viper

Knowing that God is governing, what lessons can we learn from the way that Paul shook off the viper?
Think of “viperous” situations we may have experienced.
Perhaps someone has spread some nasty rumors about us.
Can we “shake them off” without feeling resentful, knowing that God is actually governing all thought and that Love is always operating to hold us right there in Love.
Have the younger children think of some examples and act out “shaking off” whatever challenge they share.


Have a great week in Sunday School!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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