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[PYCL: Be aware of treasure that God has filled you with! Feel joyful, Satisfied, Intelligent, Fearless, Confident, Peaceful! (4)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Substance”
for September 15, 2019

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

Pycl #1: I have mentioned before that it is not very fruitful to talk about how matter isn't "substance" in terms of things like a desk/table or chair in Sunday School. We don't get very far with such absolute talk, really, substance is something that we have to demonstrate in order to understand more clearly just what is substantial, and what is a cheap imitation of substance! Truly, our mortal view of the earth and its good and bad elements is a limited, mortal perspective of things.

Christie Hanzlik, at CedarS Camps has illustrated this effectively during breakfast practitioner talks with the campers, by rolling up a piece of paper, spy-glass style. When we compare this narrow view to the full view we get of the world without this restriction, we can get a sense of what we are talking about.

Spiritual substance is a grander, infinite, eternal view of life that encompasses far more than matter can ever give, and comes with no "down side". Give each child a piece of paper to roll into a spy glass and tape it for them. Have them try describing what they see when they look through it. What do they see when they look without this?

So, yes, what we see is "there", it is not "imaginary", but it is a limited perspective of the eternally fresh, beautiful and all-good creation of God's universe, spiritual reality. (See Pycl #4 for one idea about how to go about sharing this idea with a paper spy glass).

Pycl #2: How do we "demonstrate" substance? See if they have any thoughts. What is "substance"? You will have to begin by listing what makes something substantial: It must last forever (eternal). There cannot be an end (infinite). It must be good. It must be from God, obviously. Once you have some ideas of what makes something substantial, then you have a basis for thinking about what these "things" might be, and we find out that they really cannot be "things" at all! The love expressed by our mom and dad could be thought of as eternal, infinite, etc. That love doesn't stop when they aren't in front of you, right? This is an expression of infinite and eternal Love!

Can you think together of anything else that is "substance" or substantial? With qualities in mind, you can then think about how we demonstrate substance, so that we begin to get a clearer understanding of this important idea. After all, Mary Baker Eddy devoted an entire lesson subject to this study, twice a year! Why would we understand something better if we demonstrate it?

You can use numbers in your discussion of substance. They are a helpful analogy. There is no limit to how many number 3's we can have. They are never used up. The number system is infinite as well. Their usefulness makes them an idea of substance.

How about art? It is beautiful as idea. While an object of art or a dance or piece of music are fleeting, the idea of the beauty and perfection that they represent are eternal and substantial and our demonstration of this brings joy, satisfaction, peace—all substantial qualities we can demonstrate.

Pycl #3: There are several places in this Bible lesson where we learn more about the substance of church, of worship. We start right out in the Responsive Reading with the story of the Pentecost. In this story, which you would share, we find that everyone is moved by the "Holy Ghost" to understand each other's language as if it was their own.

Isn't this a beautiful way to think about the substance of church and worship where we can all understand one another, communicate with power and the might of substantial interaction based on the Holy Ghost rather than human opinion or belief. Then, we wouldn't find differences to be barriers to God's goodness and love. Think about this idea together. What does it mean for the substance we can get from Sunday School? What can we really go home with each week, bring in each week? Is it dependent on a teacher, a church, a set of students? Does the Holy Ghost only work if we are with a really "terrific" class?

Section 4 expands on this idea of the substance behind church and worship. Think together about what the substance of church is. Did Jesus have a church that he went to? He did preach in the synagogue, but he also preached in the streets, on mountainsides, in the wilderness…. Citation S22 says something about the "substance of devotion". Citation S23 tells us about the substantial foundation of true church…The substance of church seems to be healing when you read that whole section, right?

Pycl #4: Citation B10 talks about how wisdom and judgment from God/Mind lead us into a place where we will "inherit substance", where our "treasures" will be filled. What "treasures" is the author referring to? Can they build themselves a mental "treasure chest" for God to fill?

What would we feel like if we were conscious, awake, aware of the treasure that God has filled us with? Would we feel joyful? Satisfied? Intelligent? Fearless? Confident? Peaceful? You could make a long list and write it on a "spy glass" of paper. What if you gave them one all rolled up, for the first illustration, and then at the end of class you unrolled it so that they could see the broader view and on the spy glass was a list of these "treasures" of substance, already there. Symbolically, this would be like having the treasures of substance becoming visible when we stop looking through a limited material sense of things…("turning things into thoughts"?)

Pycl #5: As we demonstrate the qualities of substance in our days by being kind, wise, patient, joyful, and so on, we find that we are filled up with substance of Love, Truth, Soul, and so on. One analogy for this is thinking in terms of feeling the warmth and light of the sun. We cannot feel the sun or experience the light of it unless we go to a place where we are exposed to the sun.

If we stayed in a windowless basement we wouldn't ever experience the qualities that the sun expresses. If we live our lives within a narrow, material view of things, it is like being cold and sitting in the dark, not because the sun isn't shining, but because we are not walking out of the "basement" and into the sun. I think that may be what the author of citation B10 might have meant when he said "I may cause those that love thee to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures."

You could illustrate this by putting a big brown paper grocery bag over the head of a willing student to show that the dark and limits of that space are self-imposed and not from God (or do it to yourself)…. Something like that might work, since you are not likely to have a basement to go to!

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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