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PYCL: Bring cardboard battle gear! (1, 2) Knock down & decapitate false gods that the worldly tend to think most about (3) Give thoughts the acid test! (Warren’s PS)
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
for January 26, 2020

By Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO 314-406-0041

Pycl #1: How does Truth and truth keep us safe? To think this through, consider together how lies make us "unsafe". What happens when we find ourselves trapped by lies—when stories about us or others are passed around. When they are unkind, untrue, they seem to cause damage to relationships. When we only pass around truth about others, we are wrapped-up in a safe blanket of Truth.

Look at the quote in the Responsive Reading from Ps. 91 about being covered with his "feathers", and being under his "wing". What are feathers like? What would God's "feathers" be like? Notice that it then says "…his truth shall be thy shield and buckler." What are those items of battle gear used for? Can you bring in some cardboard cutouts of shield, bucklers, and sword?

Now check out the Golden Text. What is this sword that they are talking about? Citations S1 and S9 tell us some things about the sword! Look at the story in Section 3 for some fun ideas about how Truth kept the ark safe from the enemy!

Pycl #2: Let's have some fun with the sword, as long as it doesn't get too rowdy! The sword in this lesson has a couple of functions: it discerns, or divides truth from error. It guards the tree of life in the garden. Why do the biblical authors use the image of a sword for this?

Think of how a sword might "slice" below the surface of things and reveal what is underneath.
Maybe try bringing a small sheet to lay over one student while the other (carefully) lifts the sheet with the sword, pretending that they are revealing the person beneath with the sword of Truth!
What are we removing with this sword (if it's not a sheet!)?
Is what we are revealing something true, or false? (could be both when you think about citation S11).
What does the sword do to the lie?
Is the lie, (the sheet), a part of the person hiding underneath it?

Why does the sword guard the tree of life, and is it keeping us out? No!
It keeps out material thought, lies about man, and lies about God. A material view of the world ends up in death, so we have to give up that view if we are to reach this "tree of life"!

Pycl #3: I can't imagine skipping the story in Section 3 about the Philistine's capture of the Ark of the Covenant! What does it mean that their god "Dagon" kept falling off its pedestal in front of the Ark? What happened to its head and hands? Why the head and hands?
The head might represent any intelligence that it obviously does not have!
The hands are usually a symbol of usefulness.

Are false gods useful or intelligent? Can you think together of any false things that we make a "god" out of that truly have no intelligence and no useful power?
How does the Ark of the Covenant symbolize the intelligent power of God, Truth (think about the Commandments!)? Can we use our "sword of Truth" to "decapitate error?
You could possibly set up a little "sculpture" maybe a couple of small boxes stacked.
Have them represent false gods: anger, sadness, fear, sickness, and so on.
Then, the kids can take a swipe at them with their swords, if this doesn't get out of hand!

What actually are the thoughts or truths that remove the "head" of anger for instance? The head would be the thoughts behind it that make anger seem necessary. If we can take a step back when we are upset and go for a walk or to another room for a moment, think of how much difference that would make to "cut off" the kinds of words or actions (hands) that a moment of anger can bring!!

Pycl #4: What are "justice" and "mercy"? What do these words mean and why are they important? Why are they coupled so often this week with Truth? I have heard the word "harsh" accompanying the word truth. Maybe it can be thought that the truth might lay bare things that are too difficult to face?

If someone in the class has ever been caught in a lie, they might be able to sympathize with the feeling of exposure and discomfort. What happens after everything is revealed? Isn't it relief and freedom? This is so much truer when we are talking about God as Truth. Truth/God would never be in any way unmerciful or unjust! Sometimes this may be hard to see, but it is true. Just use your "sword" to discern between what the senses tell us about reality, and what is actually true!

Pycl #5: It's interesting that there is so much praise, rejoicing, dancing—even singing aloud in their beds, as in the Responsive Reading. (Ps. 149:5)
Why do you think that all this happiness is associated with Truth specifically in this lesson?
Think together about the fact that there is a little glimpse into the second chapter of Genesis and the mist, as well as the punishment concerning Adam and Eve.

Think together about the fact that God and Her creation are entirely, 100% good.
So, Truth is 100% worth rejoicing in!
If something seems less than wonderful, you can be assured that it cannot be true, or from Truth, God!! How cool is that as a litmus test*?!

Have a great week in Sunday School!

  • [Warren PS: Litmus [ˈlitməs] noun a dye obtained from certain lichens that is red under acid conditions and blue under alkaline conditions.
  • A test kit of litmus paper strips is the most common, simple and inexpensive way to test the acidity or alkalinity of water. If you or a friend has a pool or hot-tub, you may already have access to a kit of litmus test strips. If not, you can get 100 test strips of litmus paper from Wal-Mart (for under $7) or from a store that sells pool chemicals.
  • It sounds like a fun, (grand)parent type of activity that could also work memorably in a Sunday School class to set up a water & thought experiment with a few labeled water samples.
  • Maybe connect water and thought testing with MBE’s definition of RIVER as “channel of thought” (SH 593)].
  • Pretest clear liquids & store them in something like prelabeled contact lens cases. Sprite, soft water & “tap water” from rinsing citrus (or others acidic liquids that looking like pure drinking water) could be labeled “Buying into Fads” or “Buying into Ads” or “Being Mad”, Being Conceited” of “Being Envious” or any thought that might quickly show an acid red (warning) color on a litmus paper strip when “100% good-tested” in one’s “stream of consciousness.”
  • “The acid test” is “the true test of the value of something” (ref. Cambridge Dictionary).
  • We should avoid any and all corrosive influences (built on the sand) that would eat away at our best self which is always founded on the rock (alkaline) of our 100% good and 100% satisfied-self –the pure, humble reflection of our Maker!
  • Our best self should show up quickly as (true) blue in any thought test as well as in a litmus test of well water, mineral water or salt water.
  • Of course, all parables and analogies have their limits, but many can be spiritually instructive and fun…

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