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[PYCL:  Commit to bringing the substance of every activity to the forefront of thought!]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for:  
"Substance"
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for March 17, 2013
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041 [Bracketed inserts by Warren Huff]

[PYCL #1: Question what the subject means to kids, and how they can be blessed by it.  ] 
As always begin with a bit of questioning about what the subject of our lesson means to the kids. My kids couldn't give me an answer about this when I asked them about it in the car the other day.  Even my almost nine-year old, who has seen this subject in the lesson a number of times.  It doesn't seem to be an easy word to define.  Don't hesitate to define it in simple terms rather than dictionary language.  Something like…”stuff that lasts and never rots or disappears or wears out.”  That may not be a really comprehensive and spiritual definition, but it's a place to start.  From there you can discuss together what might be included under a definition like that.

 

[PYCL #2: Discover the divine design that “Spirit the great architect” has planned.] 
I like how the word “thought(s)” so saturates the first part of the lesson.  You may want to look at the metaphysical on the CedarS website this week to see what is says there about the word “thought” that is translated from a Hebrew word that means “plan(s)”.  One Bible translation uses the word “blueprint”.  When you think of it this way it becomes a really interesting study to go from the Golden Text through the 1st section and apply this idea of “plan” to every Bible passage that includes the word “thought” or “thoughts”.  (Keep in mind that this does not work equally with the S&H passages as Mrs. Eddy wasn't using the Hebrew word.)  Have your readers try picking one passage and reading it with the word “plan”.  How does that change the meaning for them?  What ideas does that open up in their thinking about the passage?  What do they think God has planned for them?  Do they think that God thinks about them that way?  If not, why not?  If so, then what does that say about how we might approach our life each day?

 

[PYCL #3: Commit to bringing the substance of every activity to the forefront of thought.] 
I've chosen to have citation B4 be one of my daily prayers this week.  “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” [Prov. 16:3]  Put it in the first person: “I will/am commit[ing] my works to God, and then, all my thoughts/plans will be/are established.” It's a real challenge to do this all day or to be aware of it in every action and word that comes out of our mouth!  You can send this idea via e-mail as a late week assignment, or give it to them for next week.  It's an easy passage to memorize.  I love that we first commit our works, so each thing we do, however mundane or important, is being committed to our Father/Mother in some way.  If you're a kid and you are playing outside with your brother or sister, then what is the goal in this play?  Is it to get what you want out of it?  To have the most fun for yourself?  Or is it to make sure that your brother or sister, that you may find really irritating, is happy, safe, having fun?  This stuff isn't easy!  If you are doing a chore, dishes, etc. you are really expressing Principle, then you are thinking about how well you do the chore, instead of how fast you can get it done so you can move on to something “better”.  You might even be thinking about how much you love and appreciate your mom or dad for making and serving you the dinner that yielded a pile of dishes to wash.  Thinking this way will bring the substance of the activity to the forefront of your thought.  And then there's the “reward”.  All your thoughts or plans are established.  What does that mean to you?  I think that God's plan is always good for us and we get to see that when we are making all that we do be a conscious expression of God.

 

[PYCL #4: Help pupils memorize a gem to bring the enduring into their experience.] 
[“Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring…” 261:4]  You can also look at Mrs. Eddy's use of the word “thought”, as in citation S11, a familiar passage to us grown-ups.  This is another good one to memorize.  What does “steadfastly” mean?  What does “enduring” mean?  “Proportionately”, “occupancy” and whatever else comes up?  Have them put this passage in their own words once you've defined it together.  What is it saying to them?  What does it have to do with our subject this week?

 

[PYCL #5: Talk about how this week’s Bible stories and your own relate to Substance.] 
Of course you really need to visit the lovely stories in the Bible lesson this week and talk about how they relate to our subject.  Retell them in your own words and have the kids talk about how they relate to the idea of substance.  What makes Elijah's story one of substance?  It may seem obvious to us, but probably not to them.  You can continue looking at the idea of “plan” here too.  What was God's stated and upheld plan for Elijah?  What was His plan for the widow and her son?  Is that His plan for all His children?  Why do we sometimes think we don't see this abundance in our life?  Do they have any answers of their own for this?  Can you share an example of a time when it didn't look like there was a lot of “substance” in your life and through prayer, you were able to see it, as the widow does in this story?  How do you know she had been a prayerful person?  It doesn't say in the story, but it's worth pointing out that the widow doesn't argue with Elijah, she tells him she's nearly out of food, but when he asks her to bring him some first, she agrees, even though it looks like she might be depriving her own son of his last hope of a meal!  There must have been some spiritual discernment and faith going on in her thought, don't you think?

 

[PYCL #6: Discuss Jesus walking on water, nothing in the way of God’s presence & power.] 
How is Jesus walking out to the disciples on the water relate to substance?  Was their need met?  Isn't that what substance is about, meeting a real need?  Was he demonstrating the law of material substance, or divine, by walking on top of water and also just having the ship “immediately” reach land?  Did matter stand in his way?  Does matter have to stand in our way if we are really needing a sense of the presence and power of God?  I never thought about how far Jesus walked on the water, but in the my Bible lesson version of the Bible lesson this week it points out that the disciples had rowed between three and four miles out into the sea.  It's interesting to think about that, even while we know that distance is no more of an object of wonder here than walking on the water or reaching the shore immediately afterward.

 

[PYCL #7: Discuss the substance of rest & of movement being in understanding God.] 
There is a lovely section about sleep and rest if you think that will interest your students.  Most younger kids don't really think about this subject much, but it doesn't hurt to introduce the idea that the substance of our rest and peace is in God and an understanding of God.  If sleep doesn't interest them you could certainly talk about the story of the man at Lystra.  What is the substance of how we move about?  Is it in muscles?  Who gives us strength?  These are questions that tend to lead to pat answers, so a good example of healing or a testimony of your own would be helpful to steer things in the direction of a substantive, (no pun intended here), discussion of this idea.

 

[PYCL #8: Try out an imaginary trip with real day packs full of essential, fun items!] 
For the littler ones this week I was thinking about the cartoon series in MyBibleLesson.  They have a little camping trip going on.  What if you worked together to plan an imaginary trip?  What would they pack that was “substantial”?  What would they need to do to have enough food, enough energy and rest, enough joy, etc.?  Make a list for them and then go on your trip if your church is large enough.  You can pretend to paddle a canoe (as they depict in the cartoon), or give them each a walking stick or a pretend one and climb a mountain together.  Announce that you are “tired”.  What should we all do?  Can you share a story while we pray our way through this stop on our trip?  Oops, we forgot the marshmallows!  Does that have to wreck the trip, or is there something that we have learned that can help us get past that disappointment?  Would God ever leave us without a good or necessary thing?  Would God ever deprive us of something essential or truly fun?  What ideas (thoughts) might we hear if we are listening that might make the lack of marshmallows be okay?  You get the idea here.  They may even contribute some of their own ideas as they hike through or around the church with you.  If you have extra day packs at home it would be fun for them to each carry a pack or a bag with their “things” inside.  Certainly snacks are always a welcome thing with kids… if that's okay at your church.

 

Have a fun Sunday!

 

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