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PYCL: Anchor your joy in the present-moment adventures of Life! (1)
See beyond the evidence of the corporeal senses with Science. (5)
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Life”
for Sunday, July 18, 2021

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

Pycl #1: Practice anchoring your joy in the present moment of Life’s adventure, not in a far-off event!
I like the idea with younger students, of restating/modifying the 1st Commandment using the synonym “Life”.  It is stated as “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” What would it mean to us if we thought of having no sense of life other than as Life, or God? What does Life mean to us as a synonym? Make a list of qualities that represent Life. They might include: energy, grace, joy, focus…  Now, what might keep us from feeling that these are expressed/lived? Are these qualities that prevent us seeing Life similar to the false gods that are mentioned in that 1st Commandment?

If we are thinking of life more along the lines of something to look forward to that is “entertaining”, then each day holds potential disappointment if there is no focal point of an “outing”, or an event of some kind. Have you noticed that the human mind is always looking for something along these lines? Our focal point can, instead, be the discerning of divine Life as it is expressed in each activity, whether it is washing a car, vacuuming the house, reading a book, or helping around the house. It is, of course, natural to have fun things to do and to look forward to, but our joy must be anchored in the present moment of Life’s adventure, or we are always looking “out there” for something to bring happiness to us! So maybe this Commandment to look to Life alone, and not false gods of entertainment, could be likened to staying focused on the now of Life for the optimal joy! (Notice in pycl #3 that Mary Baker Eddy tells us that we are to experience immortality now. Is this similar to what we are saying here?)

Pycl #2: Check out the theme in each of three stories of Life being expressed through the Christ.
I am noticing a theme of Life being expressed through the Christ. Why does the Christ exemplify Life? Maybe we can think of Christ as the activity of Life. It is present in each of the stories in this week’s lesson. In the transfiguration story in Section 3, Christ is what reveals immortality. Jesus is seen meeting with two men who have long been “dead”, yet the disciples see them, not as some kind of ghosts, but as men, speaking with Jesus. This is an example of Life as eternally expressed through the understanding of the Christ, that Jesus embodied. It was such a brilliant and clear example that it literally shined “as the sun”. Daniel’s Christly confidence and courage revealed this sense of Life in the lion’s den, as did Jesus’ Christly confidence and courage reveal this sense of Life in his raising of Lazarus.

Pycl #3: Tell the story of Lazarus and talk through the symbols within the story.
What does the stone in front of Lazarus’ tomb symbolize? How about the graveclothes with which he is wrapped? Why does Jesus say “Loose him, and let him go”, other than the obvious? What do we need to “let go” or free ourselves from, in order to experience a better sense of Life as immortal rather than tied to matter?

Notice that in citation S22/428:19-23 it tells us: “The great spiritual fact must be brought out that man is, not shall be, perfect and immortal.” We are not waiting for immortality! What does it mean to us to be demonstrating immortality right now? Why did Jesus wait for 4 days before he went to Lazarus when he heard that Lazarus was dead?

Now have the children act out this story. You can use strips of an old sheet, or toilet paper, or whatever works for your class. If you have enough people you can act out all the characters in the story, the sisters and everything!

Pycl #4: Daniel in the lion’s den is a favorite story for younger children (and maybe older ones too!).
Make sure they understand that the lions were kept very hungry, so that they would immediately attack and eat whomever was thrown into their space. Imagine how it might have felt down there in the dark space where they cruelly kept these animals. Think of how it might have smelled! Do we ever find ourselves in a “dark pit” where we feel locked in and at the mercy of “lions” of sadness, fear, lack of intelligence or creativity?

Rewrite this story together as a class, with a modern twist. How would we pray to “shut the mouths” of such things as sadness, fear, etc.? What would be the “antidote”? What qualities did Daniel show when he continued to pray and worship God? What qualities must we express and demonstrate in order to preserve ourselves from the hungry “lions” of sadness, etc.

I love that citation S6 tells us that “God is the Life, or intelligence, which forms and preserves the individuality and identity of animals as well as of men.” How beautiful that the amazing animal kingdom is truly an expression of the goodness, loveliness, and intelligence, of Life. We can see this expressed as we acknowledge daily that God’s creatures do not possess a “dual” nature that is sometimes friendly and loyal, and sometimes vicious and frightened.

Pycl #5: See beyond the evidence of the corporeal senses with Science.
I think we can build on Mary Baker Eddy’s statement in citation S20 about how “…Christ could improve on a false sense.” Check out citations S11 and S12 (417:18 and 288:27) where we see this idea echoed.

We are encouraged to see beyond the evidence of the corporeal senses with Science. Isn’t this what Jesus did with raising Lazarus? How can we go beyond our physical senses?  What gives us confidence that this is not some form of self-delusion? Read a couple of testimonies of healing that illustrate this idea that the corporeal senses do not reveal what God/Life is seeing and expressing. Share a healing of your own! Life gives us “glorious possibilities” because it is not stuck in matter, or in a material body. 

 

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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