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[PYCL: Daily celebrate spiritual Baptism & Communion… from the inside out!]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for:

Sacrament
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for January 12, 2014

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com   (314) 406-0041
[with bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS Director]

[PYCL 1—Share how central the rituals of Baptism & Communion are to most Christians and how we spiritualize them daily in Christian Science.]
Whenever this lesson rolls around I share what this term means with my kids and talk about what the traditional Christian sacraments are.  I'm no theological expert, but I think it gives the kids a broader Christian context in which to set our understanding of these important concepts.  Baptism and Communion are centerpieces to most mainstream Christian churches, and I grew up with no understanding of this.  It made it a little more difficult to appreciate the importance of how Christian Science regards these rituals, and how Christian Science “de-ritualizes” them!  It is important to understand how these sacraments are vital to our own spiritual understanding of God and of our relationship to Her.  In so doing, and helping our children to do so, we foster better respect and love between religions, and people!

 PYCL 2—How does God bless us?
There is a theme of blessing in this lesson.  How is it that we are blessed by God?  Can the kids find in each section how God is blessing us or someone?  This could take some time if they are looking through each section, or you could just take one section like section 3 and focus on the Beatitudes which each begin with the word “Blessed”.  Why do they begin this way?  Why are we blessed if we are…?  Even if you use a different translation it is totally applicable.  Are we ever “not blessed”?  If so why, if not, why not?  Always, always we are being asked to gain a deeper understanding of God.  These sacraments provide an opportunity to understand more clearly, who God is and who we are too.  As we put into practice our greater understanding of our pure nature, our washed-clean selfhood, we see God!  My 5-year-old loves to wash windows, and wash the TV screen.  (We have the old kind that you can use Windex on.)  Maybe you could bring glass cleaner and a dirty window or find one in the church to work on.  This has been suggested before, nothing new.  But sometimes they enjoy a familiar activity.  You can talk about the purity of thought that helps us “see” and hear God.  Compare it to how you can see the view better when the window is clean, and just so, you can see God better when you are looking through clear, pure thoughts.  What thoughts make things hard to see through?  How do we change those thoughts?  You could use the Beatitudes here to answer questions such as these.  When we see the clear picture of Truth, God, don't we feel God's blessing of joy, wisdom, kindness, patience, sweetness and so on?

PYCL 3—Seeing/hearing God:
When discussing how the heavens opened up for Jesus when John baptized him, and God said “Thou art my beloved son…” my 9-year-old wistfully said that he wished God spoke to us that way today.  Of course this led to a discussion of how God does speak to us today.  And in the context of this lesson there is abundant opportunity to introduce this idea.  God speaks to us today in direct proportion to our purity of thought.  As we cherish no other view of ourselves than the view God has of us, we bring our thought into alignment with what God is already seeing and with what God is providing us.  With Huck, I discussed several instances where I felt very clearly that I was hearing God's voice.  For me, it was not audible, but it might as well have been for all the certainty, peace and joy that I felt at that time.  Each instance was accompanied by a clear sense of direction and peace.  Then it is good to follow that with what I think of as the constant voice of God in our lives.  If God is Mind, then everything that expresses wisdom is the voice of God talking to you.  For example, if you are brushing your teeth, you might say that God is expressing in you, wisdom to take proper care of your teeth.  Maybe you make your bed in the morning.  Isn't that divine Principle expressing order and love in your life?  Wouldn't God, Principle be talking to you, giving you the impulse to do this activity?  Even if your mom or dad asked you to do this, this could still be seen as directed by Principle.  Can you think of other simple daily acts that are instances of God speaking to us?  Make a list and keep it going all week.  Once you start thinking of it this way you start to be more aware that there is no life separate from God and God's action!  This is the ultimate expression of purity, right?

PYCL 4—Look at Naaman's story [in the context of being saved by grace or by good works]:
This is such a great story to talk to young kids about. There are so many levels on which to address it.  You can mention here that Naaman was clearly a really good man.  Do we sometimes think that we are “really good” people?  Is there anything wrong with that?  The answer is that if you understand where the goodness comes from, no!  But if you think that you are virtuous through your own efforts and toil, then, yes.  Citation S6 reiterates the Biblical statement we cannot “serve two masters”.  We cannot have two views of ourselves: 1. Important, good, material person.  2. a child of God. The first is “perfectionism” which will cause anxiety and stress as we try to fulfill an impossible level of goodness.  The other is where you've put on the yoke of Christ and all goodness is from God.  I think this story illustrates the need to really bow before the source of man's goodness.

[PYCL 5—Stay humble to avoid preconceptions of how God’s love & blessings will appear.]
You can talk about the muddy river of Jordan and how Naaman, if he had to take a swim, wanted to dip in his home rivers which were clear and clean-looking.  You can mention that Naaman was a very important man; he ruled over a kingdom's army and had the respect even of the people that he had taken captive.  What kind of reception would he have expected from the prophet?  What kind of reception did he get?  Who came out to tell him what he needed to do?  Was it the great prophet Elisha?  Did Elisha's directions include some complicated deed of bravery?  What does that say to us today about what we need to do when we are struggling with a challenge?  Maybe we need to work on our sense of humility and purity, rather than getting too complicated?  This also speaks to the earlier discussion of why doesn't it seem like God “talks” to us today.  Is this because we want to see the heavens part, or see someone come out and “…strike his hand over the place and recover the…” (B4).  Are we overlooking the humble manifestations of God's love and blessings for us because we have a preconceived idea of what it should be like when God speaks or presents Herself to us?

PYCL 6—Symbolism [Daily Celebrate spiritual Baptism & Communion from the Inside Out!]:
Discuss baptism, which is so prevalent in this lesson.  What does it symbolize?  What does Mrs. Eddy say about it? (S10)  Keep in mind that the traditional Christian view of this act is tightly interwoven with the idea of salvation, which is also defined in this lesson in citation S7.  But I'm not sure you need to talk about this aspect of traditional Christianity with the littler kids.  It is helpful to know what salvation is though!!  How can we be baptized every day?  Why don't we do traditional baptism in our church?  Same goes for the sacrament of Communion: what is it, why don't we do it traditionally, how do we celebrate Communion?  You can certainly mention here the prayer in the church service on our knees.  Why do we kneel?  What is the difference between prayer and communion?  Of course, you can check out Section 4 for all the symbolic meanings of the bread, wine, cup and so on.  Maybe they could put these ideas into their own words.

I hope this gives you a few ideas to work with on Sunday!

 

 

 

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