Join us for the best summer yet!

[PYCL (2): Be at peace in your Gen. 1 wholeness, not selfishly anxious about some unfulfilled need.]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lesson for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:

Adam and Fallen Man

Sunday, November 9, 2014

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

[Bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS 1st camper, current director & PYCL editor]

[PYCL 1]
Why do we have an allegory about creation? Did you know that nearly every culture has a creation story? And most of them have some weird characters in them and strange kinds of creation (such as making man from dust, ribs, meeting up with talking snakes and so on). You could find a few of the shorter allegories to share just to give the kids an idea (there are many from Native American tribes, and from many different African cultures, but they are truly ubiquitous, so have fun!) I know you don't want to spend a significant time on creation stories, I just think that it helps to put this one about Adam and Eve in perspective.

[PYCL 2]
Once we understand that these stories were made to explain, creatively, the reason why certain things are the way they are, we can really look at the Golden Text as a basis for everything that this particular allegory teaches, even to little children. If we look at the word “perfect” as it is used in the Bible, we find that it really refers to a sense of completeness or wholeness, not some kind of divine or human perfectionism. Keeping our eye on this kind of perfection as we proceed through the lesson will be an interesting pursuit. Knowing/understanding that man, as God created him, is perfect, or whole and complete, we are then satisfied, and wise to any suggestions that might tempt us to think that somehow matter can fill us with some sort of satisfaction that we 'lack'. So naturally, if we are “marking” or beholding the “perfect” man, then we are at peace, not full of anxiety about some unfulfilled need. Our peace, joy, satisfaction come from understanding our wholeness. We don't need that turn on the tablet right now to be happy, God gives us joy and satisfaction—we don't have to have our friend play the game that we want this minute, because God, Love, has given us our happiness right this minute and it comes from unselfish love for others, not from having things go our way.

[PYCL 3]
Let's look at the word whole or complete. Get a cup of water and put it in a bowl so that you can let it overflow without making a mess. Have the kids pour water into the cup. Can it get any fuller than full? This is a little like how God has made us. We are perfect, whole, complete. There is no more that God or matter can add to something that is infinitely good. There just isn't any space for “more”. Now matter will definitely “tell” us that's not true. Matter will always tell us that we need something else, some new “thing” or some “way” to be happy, or some knowledge that will give us the “inside track”. Maybe we think we need the right friends? What is it that is trying to talk us into being unhappy, dissatisfied, angry? Can we isolate that suggestion? Is it really our own thought? That's one thing the allegory gets right, these suggestions don't really belong to us, they are suggestions of error, the tricky serpent thought that pretends it's just “how we feel”.

[PYCL 4]
I might try a little play with my five-year-old's class. He struggles with being sad sometimes on weekends. I think he doesn't like the change in routine. So what if we acted out the allegory? Someone gets to be the snake, only we don't use the apple and the “knowledge” thing. We discuss before hand, what suggestions are hard for us. Make sure you share the things that are hard for you too! Maybe you could be the serpent first so that they get the idea… Bring a costume of some kind, just so it's more fun. You might even own a pretend snake that they could use like a puppet. Talk about why the story uses a snake as the tricky creature. There is of course nothing inherently wrong with snakes; they are an important part of the environment. But they are sinuous, slithery, their scales are smooth and slippery, they are hard to “catch”, they are sometimes venomous, you get the idea… With the kids that can read you can work together on a script to act out with parts. Then, when you've done the play, talk about the original story of creation. What is different about it? How is it complete? How does it help us in our quest to understand how man is a satisfied, joyful, powerful, healing idea of God?

[PYCL 5]
With the reading kids, up through 5th or 6th grade, I'd say you can choose ahead of time some of the citations that talk about perfection and see how they look when you substitute the word “completeness” or wholeness” for perfection (or “complete” or “whole” for “perfect”)—also see citation B22 for the “in part” citations. For example: citation B4 says “As for God, His way is perfect: It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.” So we'd write that “As for God, His way is complete, It is God that clothes me with strength and makes my life complete, whole, satisfying, not needing anything…” It's important to notice with the kids that matter does not back this up! Citation S2 makes this clear: “To the five corporeal senses, man appears to be matter and mind united…” This is like saying we are made in pieces. That we were not made complete, we need to have matter add it's part to animate us and give us the ability to have separate ideas from one another, as well as separate identities from God.

[PYCL 6]
Another aspect of the serpent story that is interesting to note is the false suggestion that God withholds “good” from us. The good might be in the form of material knowledge, the kind of “fun” that doesn't really last or bless anyone. This kind of fun at an early age would include, maybe, excluding a friend in our class because we don't like them, or even because they aren't nice to us, or seem odd to us. Maybe you can brainstorm together what we might think that we are “missing out on” by holding only to the creation of Love, the complete one. If you or they can think of something that would appear to be missing, you can certainly think of how that is more than filled by Love. The serpent argues that only matter can fulfill, that God is only helpful to a point, “but really, let's be practical”. The funny thing is, matter always returns to where it came from, illustrated by the text: “…for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

[PYCL 7]
All the efforts we put into living a good or bad material life end up coming back to us like a boomerang! But every effort we make to see life as God made it, to see man (ourselves) as God made us, lasts forever! That's the freedom talked about in Section 3. You can certainly talk about the bondage that comes with accepting what material sense tells us versus the freedom that comes with looking to Love for a true sense of reality.

[PYCL 8]
How is the story of the woman that Jesus healed from the “issue of blood”, connected with this theme of wholeness? How did she see herself? If we start by seeing ourselves as needing something, is it easy to find our wholeness, our health, our happiness? What if we start by knowing and understanding that the spiritual fact is that the Christ man is whole, perfect, complete. That everything that says otherwise is actually a lie? She had looked everywhere for wholeness, except the one place where that wholeness was already established. Did Jesus “make” her whole? Or did he recognize that God had already created her that way and her finally “reaching out” for that truth had made her free of this wrong sense of herself as lacking? How does this apply to our own practice of healing as Christian Scientists?

[PYCL 9]
What if we had to describe each other only with material traits? What if we said “So and so is 4 feet tall, has brown hair and green eyes, his face is narrow, he has dark skin, he wears green shoes, and so on…” Would this give us a true picture of someone? Would we know whether they would be a good friend, a good daddy/mommy, teacher, brother, sister, etc.? Try this out. What would we really know about someone? Do those things really say anything at all that is important about being good at any of those roles? Consider this thought as we think about man as God's creation. What are our identities really constructed of? What is lasting, what has a positive impact on those around them? I think this might be a way to dig into Section 5 if you wish to.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!

American Camp Association

(November - May)
410 Sovereign Court #8
Ballwin, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

(Memorial Day Weekend - October)
19772 Sugar Dr.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-6699

Support our mission!

CedarS Camps

to top