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[PYCL: Discuss 3 false sense of self stories.Stop stressing, simply reflect! (#1) Discuss shadows & eye-to-eye encounters! (#2, 3)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for


on July 17, 2016

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

Pycl #1: This is such an interesting lesson on Life. There is no direct mention of birthdays (not celebrating them), or raising anyone from the dead, and no heavy emphasis on eternal life, though that is certainly mentioned and implied deeply. Maybe we could lay out all the stories included in this lesson: Moses speaking with God, Jacob speaking with God/His angel, and Naaman going to Elisha. What do these stories have in common here? You may need to review them or have the children tell you what they remember of the stories. In each case these men were struggling with a false sense of self. A better understanding of God was key to revealing a right sense of self. This is because man is a reflection, not a transmission of God's "personality" (S16). What is the difference between being a reflection and being a transmitted personality? Well, in one case we do not "possess" personally our goodness, talent, skill, understanding, knowledge, intelligence, wisdom, energy, grace, beauty, and so on—these are reflected from God by His ideas, His creation, man. In the other case we would be personal creators, passing down human traits and limitations, each trait possessed by that person in themselves and separately from their creator. These traits would be limited because they would be contained within a limited material body. Here would be the opportunity to bring out the mirrors. Have one for each child if you can. Talk about reflection. There are all sorts of qualities that can be brought up in this context. You can talk about clarity, (a clean mirror yields a clear reflection). You can talk about perfection (a mirror reflects exactly what it faces). What does it mean to reflect God? Why is it important to know this? How does this help us understand God as Life? If we see God as the source of Life, then as Life's reflection our identity is secure, permanent, defined… because Life is being or existence right?

Pycl #2: This springs from the thoughts about reflection and gives us something else a little bit active to do with younger children. Talk about shadows. When we stand in front of the sun we cast a shadow. Is there substance in that shadow? (S6) That means: can the shadow act of its own accord? Can you break or make a shadow sick? (Go outside and try making shadows and seeing if the shadow can do something separately from the person casting it.) How is a shadow similar to a reflection? How is it different? Again, what does this have to do with Life and understanding God as Life and man as His idea? Can a shadow exist without the person casting it?

Pycl #3: There is much mention of "face to face" in this lesson and quite a bit implied about this—as in citations B3, B5, B9—and certainly you can look together and see other places. For example: Jacob really "saw" God when he wrestled with the angel didn't he? He felt and tangibly saw God as present during this struggle. Then he "saw" his brother's face for the first time, as "the face of God"—as truly reflecting God and not as separate human personality. Jesus says that anyone believing on him, believes in God, much like seeing Jesus' face (recognizing Christ), we see God's face (B19). Talk about what it means to see someone face to face as opposed to texting, emailing, calling etc. In a face to face there is no separation, no distance. We have the full attention of whomever we are speaking with. (You can even draw a parallel with how distracted we can be while speaking on the phone/texting/even emailing…while multi-tasking). Can we multi-task while looking someone in the eye? This is the full-on attention that God gives each of His ideas? Can you imagine a Being, Life, that can have the infinite attention to see each of His children face to face, all the time? This cannot be a limited, man-like "person" or being, can it!? You could certainly have the kids try looking each other in the eye and also do something else at the same time. What happens when we speak with someone with our whole attention? Do we feel really loved, cared for, attended to?

Pycl #4: One of the qualities that is captured in each story mentioned in Pycl #1, is humility. Many of us may feel we are not up to the "level" of Moses, for example. A child in Sunday School might wonder about why God would talk to them. So let's look at this candidly. Moses was a murderer… he killed a man and fled town. Jacob stole twice from his own brother, deceived his father and fled, only to be involved in more deceit with his uncle. And Naaman, not a worshiper of the One God, and, though he was clearly a decent man, he was deeply dismayed that Elisha didn't come down himself and meet him "face to face", he felt he was a pretty important fellow and deserved better than a messenger and a dip in a dirty local river. So it appears that it is not our resume or history that is important. It is who we are, our very being or existence as reflections of divine Life that matters and makes us worthy of God's goodness, of a face to face encounter with our Father-Mother. These face to faces happen all the time! Can we think of some examples where our humble approach helped us see God actively in our lives? Why is humility so important? Do talk about these examples specifically and how humility is involved. Is humility "recognizing how bad we are"? No! It is seeing ourselves as reflection! Jacob and Naaman had a real struggle with this idea. They had pretty strong senses of themselves as separate from God. In Jacob's case, he recognized that he had done wrong and Esau was probably pretty justified in being angry, even murderous towards him. He had a very strongly defined sense of himself, and it wasn't as one with God. Naaman was proud of his record as a soldier probably, he was also known to be a good man and maybe was pretty proud of himself in that way as well. This can be especially dangerous because if we think of ourselves as personally good, we then are in danger of thinking of others as personally "bad" right? If our goodness is rooted in reflecting God, then all are equally in possession of this goodness! Moses saw himself as inadequate. How many of us do this at one time or another? This is also rooted in a lack of humble regard for God as the only "I". None of us, in fact, are "adequate" personally! You can contrast this with Jesus in Section 5, who recognizes so clearly his utter dependence on God as the source of his life, as Life and Being itself! You could draw a parallel between last week's exercise of kneeling for Sacrament Sunday, and this kind of humility that helps us to really commune with God/Life/Being. Nothing gets between us and God when we are truly humble!

Pycl #5: Craig touches on this in his met this week, but it would be helpful to talk about how Naaman is healed in that section. Naaman, as part of his sense of personal pride, outlined how the healing he needed would take place. He felt sure that Elisha himself would come out and raise his hands in the air, or something dramatic, and call on God and make the leprosy disappear. Not understanding the deeper nature of God as Life, perfect, unblemished, without sickness or disease and reflected in man….he felt something had to be "done". How often do we feel this way when we pray? That we somehow have to "do" something? Elisha saw Naaman's need as not being free from a "real" disease, but as needing the humility to be in the presence of unblemished Life and actually see that Life through the lens of that humility, with no human pride in the way. Do we sometimes try to plan how our healings might come to us? Do we think we must have a certain revelation, a certain quote, a person who knows more about Christian Science present with us? Does the healing need to come to us in a particular time frame? Christian Science is the presence of Christ to all of us, children included. It is not a complicated, tricky, lofty, difficult-to-understand thing that we have to struggle over all the time in order to "get" a healing. Our struggle is not with the Science of the Christ, rather with our false sense of life in matter, like Jacob. And with persistence, we too can find our victory because life in matter is a lie—and being in Life is the Truth!

Hope this makes for some fun discussions and activities this Sunday!

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