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[PYCL: Cherish "Promised Land" reality! (2) Confront suggestions of violence, destruction. (4)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for September 29, 2019

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

Pycl #1: There are more than 27 references in this lesson to "city", "Jerusalem", "new Jerusalem", "kingdom" or "kingdom of heaven", and "realm". This sense of a place is one that is ultimately what John saw in Revelation—a place where all is spiritual, complete, light, secure and safe, and visible/real! Why is this described as a "city"? What is the metaphor about?

Look together at the “Glossary” definitions that are included in the Bible lesson for Jerusalem and New Jerusalem. Check also definitions for Zion, and kingdom of heaven, heaven, (notice in kingdom of heaven we have "the realm of the unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind;" (bold italics added) and that the final citation is: "The realm of the real is Spirit." (S30, 277:24)

Have the children draw (with a ruler or straight edge) a big square. Label the sides as Mary Baker Eddy (MBE) tells us on pages 575 and 576 of Science and Health: "The Word", "Christ", "Christianity", and "divine Science". Why are the sides equal or square? What does that say about these four "walls"?

Make sure you talk together about what these words mean. What is "The Word"? It can be the Bible, but look also at the beginning of the first chapter of John in the Bible. "In the beginning was the Word…" Look at citation B15 for some more "labels"!

What belongs inside that "city" that they drew? Look through various sections together to see what they think. Is there anything that we would think of as "normal" in this city? (streets, buildings, sidewalks…) There is no sun, so who lights it up? Is this similar to the beginning of creation in Genesis 1 where there is light first, and then sun later?

The gates of the city are open all the time. But nothing comes in that would make it less than beautiful and pure!! Can that be like our consciousness, always open to God, Good, but never allowing anything that would cloud that Good? Is this city something that is far from us, out there for us someday when we are "good enough"? How do we enter it? It is consciousness! True consciousness that sees spiritual reality, the only reality. I would want to be sure that they go home knowing that that "city" is within and is visible to every one of us.

Perhaps the children will think of things that they should include in their city. If they want flowers, can we make that into "beauty" (write it in). Other spiritual qualities can fill it up, give them colorful markers to write with. "Joy, peace, grace, energy, intelligence, perception…" these are a few thoughts, see what they come up with.

Pycl #2: What is Abram looking for? What does God promise him? Is it obvious for most of his life? (He didn't even become a father until very late in life, and Isaac came even later). What does this tell us about maintaining our sense of joy, hope and faith as we are presented with pictures that look less than up to "Promised Land" standards? Why do we see those pictures, what senses are being used? "Spiritual sense is the discernment of spiritual good." says MBE. Can we engage those senses to see the "Promised Land" on a regular basis? I didn't use this word much so far, but it would be good to draw the connection between this "Promised Land", "Holy City", and "Reality"—our subject this week:-)

I love the symbolism in Abram/Abraham's story. In citation B4 we are told that he went out in obedience to God without knowing where he was going! Is this how we can go forward in a day when we are not motivated by looking for things to work out a certain materially "good" way? For example: maybe we head to school hoping that a particular friend will let us play with them at recess in a game we really want them to play with us. That is telling God what you want. Instead, we can head to school with an open thought and deep joy and trust that God will place us in the perfect spot to be happy and share good with whoever needs it. In this way, we will glimpse and experience the "Promised Land"—spiritual reality!

If you worked with the city idea in Pycl #1, you can draw a connection with Abram's story in the passage from Hebrews where it mentions that he was looking for a "city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (B4, Hebr. 11:10) Think together about the city "walls" in Pycl #1, and the "foundations" in this passage. Are these "visible" things, material things? Or, are we talking about spiritual ideas? What does a foundation symbolize? You can then look at citation B5 (I Cor. 4:18) to expand on the "visible" vs. "invisible" idea.

Pycl #3: It is fascinating that in last week's lesson we have Elisha making an iron axe head float to the surface (apparently by casting a stick into the water!), and in this week's lesson we have Elisha helping people who love the city where they want to live, but the water is not drinkable! He solves this particular challenge with some salt!! [Since Jesus’ said “Ye are the salt of the earth” couldn’t you also purify and bless your community’s thought?]

You might point out that salt water is not exactly drinkable, and that usually salt will render good soil, dead. It was also a valuable mineral for preserving meat and flavoring things, so I'm not sure that there is a clear reason here for the salt. But I think it is interesting that salt is used this time, a stick in last week's story. I'm thinking it goes to the need for man to "see" something happen in order to trust that it is possible, even if they view it as miraculous.

Also, it’s significant that the floating stick and the salt are kind of turning physics and water purity upside down, materially. (Sticks float, iron doesn't. Pure drinking water can be safely drunk and used to water crops, salt water is the opposite.) This is the illogic of matter and material solutions. Ultimately though, this is about how goodness and evil don't mix. The city is useful, good, it must therefore have all that it needs to sustain and bless it—including clean water. Spiritual reality has no element that is contaminated, as we see in our study of the New Jerusalem/City of God.

Try bringing a pitcher of water and some cups. Have the students pour it into cups, or pour it for them. Ask them if anything but water is coming out. Are they sure? (You can play this up a bit.) If there is only water in the pitcher, is anything else going to come out besides water? No! This is how God/Good has made reality. Only Good goes in, only Good comes out.

Pycl #4: Why is the story of Jairus' daughter in this lesson? What does this say about what Jesus saw as included in our experience, in reality? Did he accept anything at "face value"? What does it teach us about how we look at things around us that seem disastrous, scary, painful, violent? Can we get a peek into the Holy City even when faced with material pictures that are not so great? Think again of Abram's story.

The parable of the good Samaritan is in Section 4 (B19). This section has the suggestion of a society that is violent and destructive. How does Jesus teach us to confront that suggestion?

How does demonstrating this kind of love as the Samaritan did change how we view such scenes? The Levite and priest that passed by certainly had a love for Jerusalem, as the Holy City, but perhaps their understanding was more along the lines of “the pride of power and the power of pride” in the first part of MBE's definition of “Jerusalem” in citation S18 (p. 589:12)?

Ask each other the question about “which mind picture … shall be real to you” in citation S21 (360:13). Then think about how we can "form perfect models in thought". (S22. 248:22) How are these models like the "city" that we are learning about this week? And, maybe most importantly in the context of this “Good Samaritan” parable in B19, citation S23 is very clear that the only way we will see, or recognize spiritual reality, is through spiritual living (demonstration).

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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