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PYCL: Discuss how understanding blossoms. Expect Commandment results! (4,5) Possible Younger Class Lesson Ideas for Sunday School on the Christian Science Bible Lesson:

God the Preserver of Man
For June 14, 2020

By Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO • 314-406-0041

Pycl #1: Show how canning works to preserve food by bring a jar of preserves & some bread.
If you are a long-time reader of these Sunday School notes then this will not be new. But, I think it is a really fun and clear way to discuss some aspects of the idea of "preserve" with the very young audience. Bring a jar of jam/preserves, along with some bread to spread it on. You can, of course, use something else that counts as "preserved" in this way like pickles, tomatoes, etc. I just suspect the sugary aspect of jam is more appealing to this group!

The idea behind this is to have a conversation that addresses how canning works to preserve the food inside. You are working to prevent any bacteria that would cause the food to spoil. How do we do that? By heating it to a high temperature and depriving the jar of any oxygen for the bacteria to live in. So, this gives us a great analogy.

You can talk about how we don't need to provide "air/oxygen" for error to grow. In this case, air would be any space in our thought for evil to thrive. How do we do this? Come up with ways that we can fill-up all space in our consciousness with good. If the children have been to summer camps, maybe they can think of how nearly every moment is filled with wonderful activity, joy, comradery. We can't always be "served-up" with this type of high-level occupation, but we can practice filling our thoughts with good at every turn. You could consider Mary Baker Eddy's passage about "flood-tides of Love" as an image of making no room for error or evil. (SH p. 201) Even the idea of heating the ingredients, even the jar, can be likened to a purifying process similar to smelting metals.

Pycl #2: Handle whatever threatens us with a less than full, vibrant, joyful, intelligent life. There are several stories of preservation and the mention of past preservation (Abraham as well as the Children of Israel in Bible citations B2 and B3). Read some or all together/tell them, and see how people were saved. They were all saved in one way or another from death when you think about it. Can we put their lessons into action in our own lives today? Or do we have to have a life-threatening situation going on in order to be saved from death?

What if we think in terms of things that happen in a day to threaten us with living a less than full, vibrant, joyful, intelligent life? What resistance do we struggle with when striving to listen to the comforting, reassuring, powerfully preserving voice of God?
How does that God speak to each of us directly? Maybe good speaks to us in pausing to enjoy a breeze on a hot day, closing our eyes and really feeling it, expressing gratitude for it, describing it to ourselves. Perhaps it speaks to us when we decide to do something kind for another. Maybe when we are feeling a sense of trust that Mind will guide someone that we love better than we can ever do ourselves – and that we can be totally confident in this divine guidance, even when we are not completely sure ourselves!

Pycl #3: Bring them a rock to hold, write down all the qualities that it represents for us
I love the images of strength and reliability to represent God's preserving power and his dependability. Find passages that refer to "rock", "shield", "high tower", "fortress" and so on. Why are these symbols chosen?

Bring them a rock to hold, write down all the qualities that it represents for us in this Bible lesson subject. Or, bring some paint and have them each paint these qualities on a rock of their own—at home or in Sunday School. (What is a "rock of salvation"? What does salvation mean?)

Pycl #4: Discuss how understanding blossoms for those involved in the Bible stories this week.

What is faith, trust, understanding? Why do we need all of them? Do things sometimes look like they are bad—of course—how does faith help us through when we might not totally understand something? Maybe it is faith built on past success or experience in healing, maybe trust in God because of the way we feel at peace when we call on God to solve a problem rather than "mull it over" and weigh the "pros and cons". Sometimes, it is faith that blossoms into understanding. This could lead to a discussion of how this blossoming of understanding might have taken place for the other people involved in the Bible stories where people were saved this week.

How do you think Elisha’s prophets felt when they were told that the stew was safe to eat?
How did they feel after obeying Elisha and eating it?

How did the apostles and friends feel when Tabitha passed away?
Did they feel deprived of a friend, of someone who was super helpful, productive & loving? How did they feel after Peter raised her from death? Do you think it was simple gratitude? Awe? Deeper understanding of Life?

How about the soldiers and sailors on the boat that sank with Paul travelling with them, especially when Paul was able to tell them what would happen in advance?

You can even bring up Abraham's story, even though it is mostly implied in the lesson, because he's a great example of someone who went from faith in God to a deeper understanding of God and His purpose for man. Think about how he thought that God was calling on him to sacrifice his son Isaac in order to be obedient to God. He had to have gained a deeper insight into the God of Love who would never ask for the death of a son in order to show our faithfulness. This set a precedent for all of Judaism to gain a clearer sense of how God preserves life rather than takes it away!

Pycl #5: Expect results in obeying the Commandments! [Downloadable pledges online, top]
There are two [or three] Commandments in the Bible lesson in citation B3 and the Commandments are always a good thing to look at. I'm thinking that this Bible lesson subject has a really neat take on not taking the "name of the Lord thy God in vain" [–without results]. In this case, we are seeing that His name, His identity is filled with power to save and preserve.

We can never call on God, Life and not receive something powerful and good (never "in vain"). Just look at the examples in this week's lesson! Consider how we see His preserving power in our daily lives. Can you come up with some examples?

Just to get you going: Just before writing this I was really struggling with one of my boys over a decision that needs to be made in the next 24 hours. It seems super important and a potentially great opportunity, but when I discuss it with him, every time, he is negative, stubbornly so. There is no "okay mom, let me think this over and get back to you", no opening at all in thought. Sure, you might notice that I want him to want to take advantage of this opportunity, but even more, I want him just to ponder it before saying "no". I quieted my thought and went to my office to pray—arguably where I should have started–and immediately received the angel message that I could trust God to guide him in the right way.

I don't have to "give up", but I do need to powerfully acknowledge divine Mind's "onliness", and trust, based on my past experience and on years of seeing and understanding God's power to guide and preserve man, that Mind is doing just that for this child. I don't know what he will decide, but I do know that I can now be at peace that Mind is governing and leading and that there is never an opportunity lost, or untimely, for any one of God's ideas, including this boy! You can come up with a suitable example for whatever age you have, and help them to uncover their own examples in their day to day life!!

Have a great week in Sunday School.

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