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[PYCL: Be in the business of spiritualizing consciousness, not of improving matter! (3)]
CedarS PYCL—Possible Younger Class Lessons for:

"Man"
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for September 9, 2018

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

Pycl #1: This lesson really emphasizes peace. You can think together about peace, the obvious kind is displayed in the story of Isaac and the wells in Section 2. That might be a fun one since it's not commonly read and you could find a modern translation or retell in modern language for the very young children. How many times did Isaac and his men have to re-dig their wells? Do you know how deep they must have been in that desert area? See if you can find information about this online. Did they have big machines to dig with? Did they have modern shovels? It must have been a huge amount of work. Why was Isaac willing to continue to move along and give up his wells to other people? Did he maybe have a sense that all good really comes naturally to man from God?

Do you think that Isaac had a different sense of the people (mankind) maybe, than as "enemies"? How can we do this in our own day-to-day life—maybe with challenging friendships or sibling relationships? What does this story say about "fairness"? (Children are very aware of fairness and this is hard for them to overlook!) Did Isaac get other "rewards" for being so willing to maintain peace? What "rewards" do we get, do you think?

Check out the Responsive Reading for an answer. Does this mean that we get a special "prize" from God if we are good? Not exactly! This is kind of an important point. We get rewarded for goodness—not as a "prize," but because the goodness is part of the real spiritual universe and falls under God's law. His laws are laws of harmony and provide His idea, man, with safety, joy, intelligence, and so on. This is not a material sense of "reward", though, very often, because when we are doing good we are using our spiritual senses, we do perceive this goodness in ways that might appear to us materially. It is crucial though that we don't mistakenly think that doing right gives us material good. Otherwise, the opposite would have to be true, that those who don't have material "good", must be doing something wrong!

Pycl #2: This could lead to a broadening of our definition of peace as "not at war". There is peace of mind. We feel at peace when we are not angry with our friends, family, etc. We are at peace when we are unafraid even when facing something scary—illness, accident, exams, sports events, and so on. How do we find that peace? Our Golden Text tells us it comes from marking "the perfect man" and beholding "the upright". What does that mean? We need to have a clear sense of God's man, who he is, who we are as that man! This perfection is not human perfectionism either! It is our God bestowed spiritual perfection that is always intact.

How do we "behold" this perfect man when we are feeling out of sorts, or when someone we know is out of sorts? How did Isaac do this? How did Jesus do this? One important element of finding peace is proper self-government, which Mrs. Eddy says is God's government: "Man is properly self governed only when he is guided rightly, and governed by his Maker Truth and Love." (SH 106:9)

How do we develop the ability to stop anger in its tracks? (Or sadness, fear, etc.) Some people who don't struggle with anger or impatience don't seem to have to handle this suggestion. Others need some tactics to arrest these kinds of thoughts before they take over consciousness and turn into regrettable actions! How does a knowledge of perfect man in this lesson provide some ideas that lead to healing a lack of self-government? Note: self-government can also apply to doing what we know to be right throughout our day beyond controlling our tempers, etc. This understanding helps us to think of how we decide to tackle our responsibilities such as chores, homework, schoolwork, or practice of any kind.

Pycl #3: Citation B2 is an example of that "reward" from God that we were talking about in Pycl #1. Here it tells us that we will be treated mercifully if we are merciful to others. This makes humanly logical sense and is generally true as well. But, more than when we express love we get love back, this points to a law of God's love that is ever-operating—no matter what we see around us! For example: the man in Section 4 by the pool had been waiting 38 years to find his healing. Was he suddenly "good" and so Jesus came across him and healed him? No! He was whole, complete and harmonious always, but he needed that Christ view of man to be made clear to him so that he could rejoice in his wholeness and feel and experience it humanly. God would never withhold good from man for any reason. The man who is spiritually aware and conscious of mercy and expresses it, will naturally be more likely to perceive mercy around him/her more clearly because he is already awake to its presence! We are in the business of spiritualizing consciousness, not improving matter.

Pycl #4: Why did Jesus "eat and drink with publicans and sinners"? And, who were 'publicans'? What is Jesus' answer? What does this say to us? I think it's important to properly define sin so that we can recognize our need to elevate our consciousness of ourselves. (Note: elevate consciousness is not the same as "improve ourselves.") Like the man at the pool, we are always in the process of lifting our thought higher regarding ourselves and others. What does this mean? When we are "conscious" we are awake, alert, aware. When spiritually conscious we are awake to man's true nature and being, our own and others.

You can have little children pretend to be asleep and have them rouse one another. You can start it off by having them waken you. (Just put your head down on the desk). Then you can talk about being spiritually awake! Can anything that is a lie surprise you and cause trouble if you are spiritually awake? (You can expand on this play by noting how, when your eyes are closed, you are more likely to be surprised! Can you even be spiritually awake when you are resting? How do we do this? Maybe you can think about how the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount help us to do this. Think about how not worshiping or bowing down to any other gods would help. Or how about being a light on a hill might help? What was Jesus saying about man when he chose to dine with "sinners"? Were the Pharisees who condemned him more "pure"? How do we define man?

Have a great week in Sunday School!!

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