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[PYCL—Discuss how to be new day-to-day; how a sculpture starts in mind; how sand fails.]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for:

Mortals and Immortals
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for May 18, 2014

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

[PYCL 1] 
There is a great sense in this lesson that in order to move forward and understand yourself as “in Christ” (Golden Text and repeated in citation B16), you must regularly experience the power of God through demonstration.  We cannot do too much in this direction to help kids recognize God's power in their lives. Citation S18 tells us that belief without demonstration is “fatal to a knowledge of Science”.  And citation S11 moves us forward in this direction by declaring that when we see God's power/usefulness/”the arm of the Lord”, then we will “rise into newness of life with regeneration.”  Children are often ready to accept things on faith; they have a simple acceptance of good.  But unless this “belief” is anchored in pretty consistent demonstration, it can often be chased away more easily by the claims of mortality as they grow up.  This is not an evil, we all stick with what we see working in our experience.  Although many will take side trips on the way, let's make sure that Christian Science is “working” in our lives!  So maybe you could think of this week's class as focusing on the healing power of God and what this healing tells us about the nature of man as being immortal, not a mortal, material being.  By the way, you may want to explain what immortal and mortal means, or at least ask them for their own definition of these terms!

[PYCL 2] 
Looking at the Golden Text (GT) and the theme in this lesson of “newness”, what do the children think of that term?  What does it mean in their day-to-day lives?  Why would it be important to always be “new” or renewing our thought about ourselves?  Do we ever get to the point where we are “all done”; we “get” man and “get” God?  Sometimes I think matter has us try to get a new sense of ourselves through some kind of quick “fix”.  If we buy new clothes, get a new haircut, try a new exercise or diet regimen, then we sometimes feel that sense of newness and excitement.  While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things, they don't really give us a truly new sense of ourselves—they merely paste on a sort of new “coat of paint”.  Underneath we haven't moved forward in discovering anything about ourselves that helps us feel truly, lastingly, happy or satisfied.  This is the idea of “ornamentation” that is mentioned in the Responsive Reading (RR) and in the “vanity” from citation B3.  In the last section this idea of “ornamentation” becomes substantial rather than material when citation B20 talks about the “garments of salvation” and the “robe of righteousness”.  Can the kids imagine what these articles of clothing “look” like?  Would you be able to draw them?  Maybe not, but can you describe them?  Do they look like unselfish acts of love and service to others, kindness, gentleness, obedience and so on?  See if they can talk about these clothes.  Can they “dress” in them every day?  Should you ever take them off?  Can you sleep in them?  Do they wear out, get dirty, torn?  These questions are a little silly but might get them thinking about these special “garments”.   As a teacher of littler ones you could pretend together to “take off” the “old” yucky clothes (pretend disgust), and “put on” these garments and see what “powers” they give you to act in Godlike ways.

[PYCL 3] 
In citation S23 it says: “Being is holiness, harmony, immortality.”  Being/existence is these qualities demonstrated.  Have they ever thought about “being” in that way?  When we are not acting holy, harmoniously, or without being confined by matter—are we then not “being”, not existing?  We could consider this idea and its consequences.  Are we adding up our days without truly “being”?  What can we do to promote living in immortality right now?  Is immortality living forever in matter?  What do the stories in sections 2 and 3 tell us about immortality?  Are they pointing to matter as where we “live” and need to maintain existence?  Or do they say something about our misconception of life being contained in matter to begin with.  Matter is not where we live, so we really can't die out of it either!  The “old things” that “are passed away;” (GT) are the old thoughts about man living and dying in matter.  God never set man out to live and die and suffer in matter.  God always made us free and spiritual and immortal.

[PYCL 4] 
I always feel like there should be some project that could be done with sculpting and models for the passages in Science & Health in section 2.  But, in reality, carving a sculpture out of even a block of soap is pretty hard for little kids.  You could certainly bring in some small sculptures though and talk about what the block of wood/stone/plastic might have looked like before the artist carved out the sculpture.  Have them close their eyes and imagine a square or solid shape of wood and think about what might be “inside” that block.  Would you be able to just start carving without having any shape in mind to start?  What would you get if you did that?  If you start thinking of the model half way through carving away the wood, you might have already eliminated a part of the horse, for example, because you didn't have its long legs in mind before you began.  How is this like shaping our own understanding of ourselves?  God has already formed us, whole, complete, perfect.  So what are we doing with our “thought models”?  Are we “re-creating” God's creation?  Or are we refining our spiritual understanding of ourselves and carving away everything mortal that obscures the true self?

[PYCL 5] 
Looking at our initial theme of understanding God's power and usefulness in our lives you could check out citation B3 together.  I love the image of man building cisterns (water tanks) that are broken.  Are we building up things that will stand the test of time and set us on a path of substance?  You could easily link this to citation B14 and the sandy vs. bedrock foundations.  To understand man's immortal nature we have to build our lives on substantial qualities, and we have to build our lives in a way that reflects God's power and usefulness (whole cisterns—very important in desert climes!)  Maybe you've seen a product that is sold as “play sand”.  I know they sell it at the craft store chain “Michael's”.  It's very cool stuff and not messy if you place it in a tray.  It pretty much stays together.  But it would be a great way to illustrate how sand represents a foundation that is soft, yielding, and not dependable.  All you have to do is watch and it will gradually “melt” down into a less solid mound when you build it up.  What does the sand foundation represent in our experience?  Can they share some thoughts?  How about the rock one?  If we think of ourselves as mortals, as limited, material, subject to sickness, etc. how is that like building on the sand?  How are we thinking of ourselves when we build on the “rock”/ as “in Christ”?

Have a great Sunday!

 

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