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[PYCL: Set up a path to walk with obstacles, baggage…(1, 5) Choose paths of spiritual sense that always lead to refreshment, inspiration and joy. (3, 5)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

”Probation After Death”
for April 29, 2018

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkinmail.com (314) 406-0041

Pycl #1: This subject is always about progress—what progress is and what we are "progressing towards". With younger classes this is probably enough to think about rather than the theological implications of the subject. If your class is older, it might be helpful to put this subject into the context of broader Christian theology. Why is this subject important to us/to man in general? Why not just live our lives as decent, good human beings, with no higher aspiration than to have good lives with rewarding careers and happy families, for example (these are fine in as far as they go)? Even younger people might be able to contemplate some aspect of this question, since all of us wake each day with choices about how we are going to proceed.

So, in light of the theme of walking in the path of light this week, try setting up a "path" to walk. You could do this with a board game type illustration or large sheet of paper, or actual walk in or out of doors. Consider first thinking about the idea of a path that is "lit up" in the dark. This lighted path would be easy to follow right? It would make it so that you don't trip and fall over obstacles, you could see where you are headed, you probably won't be falling off any cliffs, you'll see others on the path that are also walking in this light. You will feel a sense of certainty that you are following the right path when it is the one that has light in the middle of darkness right? This metaphor is helpful in establishing the idea that God is that light and will always illumine any good way that we are to go with intelligence, love, inspiration, patience, energy and so on. If you are walking an actual path outside or in, plan ahead and find some obstacles to climb over or under.

Explain that while God's path is clear and bright, that doesn't mean that we won't have things that challenge us along the way. These are like these obstacles (like a chair, rock or log, etc.). They are not obstacles that God puts there though!! Be clear about that. But the light/inspiration/intelligence/love/comfort that She gives us, make it so that we can overcome any obstacle that material sense seems to throw in our way. If you are drawing these things, have the children choose what might be on the path you are drawing—or your could make it three dimensional and set rocks, etc. in the way of the path. Discuss how these obstacles appear in our experience. After all, they probably are not mountains or streams or logs that we have to get through or over. They are things like fear, sickness, temptation, and so on.

Pycl #2: One of the definitions of "probation" is "testing". God never "tests" us, but material sense does appear to. We choose whether we are going to follow a path where we overcome the barrage of material sense, or we choose the path of spiritual sense which refuses to accept the surface level of matter as fact. While this might, at first, seem like a more challenging path to choose because it seems at first glance to be more obscure, with practice, this path becomes brighter and leads to reality, instead of a "dead end" of matter and disappointment. In other words, eventually we become conscious of reality, and the fact that God has always set each of us on a true, right, and good path of Life.

Check out the stories of transfiguration and ascension in this week's lesson. We have two with Jesus and one with Enoch. What is happening in these cases? How are we demonstrating this along each of our "paths" in the light? Every healing that we have is a kind of transfiguration isn't it? Isn't our thought about the supposed "substance" of matter being challenged each time we overcome one of those obstacles in our path? And every time we do have an acknowledged healing, aren't we rising higher in consciousness, ascending, and becoming more spiritually-minded thinkers? We don't suddenly become spiritual when our body disappears; we are seeing our spiritual nature day by day as we walk on that path that God is whispering in our ear to follow.

Pycl #3: Most Sunday School children are familiar with the poem "Feed my Sheep"/"Shepherd Show Me How to Go"… You could give them each a copy of the poem, if you are feeling artistic, print up copies and decorate them, or have them do so in class while you talk together about each verse. The steep hillside is one of those "obstacles" we've been talking about. Gathering and sowing are spiritual activities. Can you decide together what they mean in modern terms? How are we "gathering" lambs, others who need to feel God's love and care or guidance? How are we sowing or planting God's spiritual ideas or inspirations that we are receiving? How are we "feeding" His sheep?

The whole poem is full of great ideas that we can expand on and that fit beautifully into this lesson! There are great tie-ins if you want to bring it back to specific verses or stories. For example there are reaping and sowing analogies in citation B12, joyful following in citation B1, and a sense of Love's care in citation B3 ("So when day grows dark and cold"). Is this poem about spiritual progress through following God's path?!

Pycl #4: "Perfection is gained only by perfection." (S12) This perfection is like "completeness". We can only understand our completeness when we act in accord with it. For example, Jesus told us that "the kingdom of God is within". To me this means that we are not looking outside of ourselves to something material to find our completeness, our spiritually harmonious and perfect identity.

Think about illustrating this idea with a simple puzzle that the pupils can put together quickly in class. Maybe there is a Bible themed puzzle available in your Sunday School or nursery, but it doesn't have to be. Keep back one of the pieces so that when they are done it is obviously missing one. We can only finish that puzzle with the right piece! Have a few pieces to choose from if possible. They will choose the obvious one that shows that puzzle's completeness. Unlike with a puzzle, we can never "lose" a piece of our completeness, nor do we somehow have to assemble this identity, but this might be a helpful illustration.

Pycl #5: Maybe you can add this idea to the walking path Pycl, but you could also think about it separately. As we walk in the direction of spiritual progress, along with the obstacles that we seem to need to overcome, there are also things along the way that might make us think we should stop and "pick them up". They often look like things that would be "fun"—maybe a little gossip, a little too much focus on personal pleasure that is selfish, a focus on something that isn't leading us into progressive or spiritual pathways.

On your path that you've designed for Sunday School these things could look like suitcases that are heavy (no roller bags :-), or even wrapped packages that are full of something that is hard to carry very far. This is another analogy to show how matter can weigh us down and ultimately prove to be very unsatisfying. God's ways always lead to feelings of refreshment, inspiration and joy.

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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