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[PYCL: Rewrite the Prodigal Son story for the 21st Century. (2) Discover “spiritual sense” (3) and let it change your standpoint(4)

Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Soul and Body”

For November 24, 2019

By Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO

Kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com 314-406-0041

Pcyl #1: This lesson could be a good platform for thinking about how we can prosper and be joyful, whole hearted, even healthy, through understanding that our being as the man of God, Soul's man, is spiritual. We can glimpse this spiritual man, we can truly perceive this man, be welcomed each day, as this man (or woman), by Love. We don't have to be in a constant war over our perceived mortal being that seems to be a combination of mind and matter. We can move forward each day and see and embrace our spiritual selfhood, bit by bit (one step at a time, like we learned last week!). And one step each day is enough!!! It is enough to find healing!

Feel free to go through ideas together about what makes us happy? What makes us healthy? What keeps us satisfied? You can link this study to the upcoming celebrations in the US of Thanksgiving if that is applicable to you. I would approach the ideas about sin in section 5 rather carefully. In my experience, it is way more important with children to give a strong basis for the "whys" of staying clear of drink, drugs etc., rather than just saying they are "immoral and evil". Too many young people have grown used to thinking of Christian Science as a "rule based" religion, rather than the rule of Love that Jesus rocked the world with when he came to us. Once we conflate rules with religion, we have a much harder time feeling the love of God as a constant, reliable presence. We have only to look at the example in the Responsive reading this week to see that there is only one man, the one that the Father in that story, (Love), knew from the start, and saw as never having left his place in Love's kingdom. It was a journey of consciousness.

Pycl #2: I plan to spend some time on the above parable in Sunday school this week. I love that story because it has so many levels to it. What is it saying to the kids in your class? Make sure to listen to their thoughts without always supplying your own ideas. This week, as I said, I see its message as "there always, ever, is only one man, God's". Why did the son want to leave and get his inheritance early? Why was that a rude request? What was the son trying to find? Did he find it? Why or why not? If he'd had enough money to do continue that lifestyle would he have "come home"? Was it "good" that he ran out of money? What did he find out as he was working to take care of pigs? What did that symbolize to the Jews (pigs were ritually unclean to them). What does that symbolize to us today–what job might this parable have today for that young man? Can you make up a parable that teaches this lesson today? Would the young fellow's journey be that different? (Maybe his pursuit is the "right job", "right friends", or "lots of money"???…but it may be very similar to this man's story too!). Maybe we aren't interested in experimenting with the same things that this man did when we "left". But does that make us "better" somehow? What do we need to do to understand our place in Love's kingdom? What does it mean that the father greeted him "when he was a long way off", "ran" to meet him…? What does the ring and robe symbolize? Why the "fatted calf", and why was the older brother jealous of that (see below for older brother part).

You can certainly include the older brother's story here. Did he understand his place? He stayed home, did the "moral", "good" thing. But he felt self righteous anger on his brother's return! What does the Father tell this brother? Was that brother actually experiencing the kingdom by staying home? What is our "goal" in being obedient to your Father-Mother? It must be higher, more spiritual than pleasing someone else, or just doing what comes naturally to you, or you can fall prey to self righteousness and a false sense of your own "superiority". Are we dividing the world around us into "good" and "bad" people? What can we do to counteract that tendency?

Pcyl #3: Have the students check out what Mary Baker Eddy has to say about "spiritual sense". (SH pp. 209 and 505). Then read the Golden text again. How is it that we "prosper"? We prosper and are healthy/harmonious as our spiritual sense prospers…our "conscious constant capacity to understand God" and our ability to discern "spiritual good". Why? Why does cultivating and using our spiritual senses help us to prosper and be healthy? Can this also be seen as a statement that "…our soul/spiritual sense is prospering, and even so, our health, harmony, prosperity in all things must be spiritually discerned"? I'm just kind of thinking out loud with that statement, but it's worth contemplating.

Pycl #4: Looking at S10 we might discuss this in terms of "standpoints" being compared to having a really good view of things. When we stand on a mountain top, we get a different impression of things than when we lay on our stomachs and try to see far away. Spiritual understanding gives us a wholly different view of things than a view from matter. With little kids you could actually act this out, have them lay on their stomachs, maybe facing a wall, and then have them try standing (safely) on a chair. How does the view differ? Do you see more? How is this like perceiving the infinite good that God/Love has to give?

Pcyl #5: One of the prevailing themes in this lesson subject is finding a freedom from feeling as if we are slaves to our body–feeling like "prisoners" to what our thought or body seems to tell us. You could even think of how there is the suggestion that our ability to think resides within our skull, like it is imprisoned there. S3 and 5 directly address this idea. All of Jesus' healings help us understand our freedom. There is also much in the last decades of quantum physics research that points to a consciousness that is not made of matter? That might be over the heads of littler ones, but we can certainly talk about "imprisonment" and freedom. Do we sometimes feel like we have no way "out" of sickness, pain, sadness, anger and so on. How can we find freedom from that suggestion? How does this lesson help us see what is available to us? How does Christian Science set us free (S5)?

Have a great week in Sunday school!!

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