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[PYCL: Don’t pray to God for things, or a quick fix of problems! (2, 3)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Soul and Body”
for November 25, 2018

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

Pycl #1: My favorite thing that Christian Science teaches us is a deeper understanding of God. This is what Jesus did through healing and preaching; this is what Christian Science opens to us as well. This Bible lesson clarifies several traditional views of God and man. One is the traditional idea that God puts some spiritual element into our physical being, and that this spiritual "element" is released upon our mortal demise. Worship is another traditional subject and word to which Christian Science brings a new view.

I have found in teaching and speaking with young Christian Scientists that many seem to naturally think in terms of a spiritual "component" of each of us continuing on after we "die". This is not actually what Christian Science teaches. There is no mixture of a material and a spiritual man. You could choose any one of a number of citations from Science & Health in this week's lesson to work with to explain this teaching.

For example, citation S11 states that "A material body only expresses a material and mortal mind…..Man, being immortal, has a perfect indestructible life." And citation S17 "Sooner or later we shall learn that the fetters of man's finite capacity are forged by the illusion that he lives in body instead of in Soul, in matter instead of in Spirit." There are not "two" men, a material one and a spiritual one. The material man is an "illusion" that material sense, mortal mind creates; and we can learn to govern material sense and replace their false suggestions with truth, as we learn more and more about the reality of God's creation.

This is kind of a "big idea" and hard to share through words alone—so back it up with some examples of healing that illustrate the fact that matter is not our true state, but a manifestation of our thinking. (If you have older children you can share some quantum mechanics with them as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in a set of Pycls). Emphasizing the proof of these "big ideas" is the important part—and helping them to see how Spirit/Soul is ever active in their daily lives and overcoming the suggestions that matter is "it".

With the smaller children maybe we could think about this subject in terms of what God would make. Would an all-good God, all-powerful and all-knowing, make a material, sickly, unhappy, and dying man? Is that the man that is His "image and likeness"? Or, would he make a mortal man with a spiritual thing inside that "escapes" or lives on when we die? Why would He do that? Why not just make man immortal, spiritual, substantial, harmonious–like Him?

As we practice using spiritual sense, we find that we see this harmony around us more and more. Each time we have a healing, we are reminded that God's laws of good are the real laws, while material laws are not laws at all. You may be able to use citation S2 to explain some of this to young children. Here Mary Baker Eddy points out that we have no evidence for the claim that a "soul" escapes a body upon death. She talks about this using the analogy of a house that is empty. This analogy might be pretty fun to work on with younger children. Use a picture of an empty house. Read what she says about this analogy and ponder it together.

Mary Baker Eddy’s statement about there being no proof of this soul/people inside the house, might seem weird in light of the fact that we Christian Scientists deny the validity of human senses all the time and become conscious of the spiritual, even though there is often no way to "see" the spiritual! But included in this statement is the idea that we have only "mortal belief" to claim the veracity of the idea of a spirit or soul inside of a body. In Christian Science, while we oftentimes deny the reality of things before our eyes, we can also prove the veracity of the spiritual through demonstration. There is no way to prove the idea that there is something spiritual "contained" within physique.

Pycl #2: The other unique thing that Christian Science brings to our attention especially in this week's lesson is the idea of truly worshiping God spiritually. What is worship? How do we "worship" God? Some might say that we go to church/Sunday School; we think about love; offer prayer to—something or someone that we worship. But Christian Science (and Jesus) show us that God is not that kind of "being". He is not a more spiritualized "person". Rather, He is Spirit/Soul, not a "form" of any physical dimension, shape. Why would a spiritual being or Love "care" if we love back, if we go to church/Sunday School, etc.? I don't think God does.

God isn't an oversized person, but Love itself, the law that envelopes mankind and the universe. This law certainly rejoices in man, His creation, but this man is an expression of Soul, not a bunch of different mortals. The reason we go to church, think about God, is for our own benefit. We do these things so that we are more and more conscious of God's love and goodness surrounding us!

Our real true worship is our expression or demonstration of Soul. Think together; make a list of how we are demonstrating Soul as we go through the day. You can start with how we do this in Sunday School—how we are going to be doing this after Sunday School—how we do it during the week. Worship of this kind includes a pretty wide range of activities! It can include gratitude, joy, energy, kindness, intelligence…these are all ways that we express Soul/Mind/God! These are not "contained" inside of matter, but are eternally expressed in the universe. We become aware of how they surround us more and more as we demonstrate them in our own lives! Didn't Jesus do this in his healing work?

Look at citation B13, the story of Jesus throwing out the men who sold sacrificial animals in the temple. Explain what he was so angry about in this circumstance. What is wrong with this kind of worship? Can we use matter to worship God? In those days sacrifice was a way that people thought they could show God that they were thinking of Him or putting Him first. We now know that the real sacrifice we are to make is the sacrifice of our material sense of God and man.

Jesus wasn't actually giving people a hard time for sacrificing animals in their worship of God, but for the business being made by selling specific animals to make up for specific sins, right there in the temple. What use does God have for this kind of worship? How might we be found doing a similarly materialistic way of worshiping God today?

What if we pray to God for "things", or to "fix" problems? Isn't that just a material way of looking at God, as some big "fixer" somewhere outside us that decides whether or not to help us? That isn't the kind of God that Jesus was revealing to us! His God was the God that we get to know in Christian Science—one that is a law of goodness to His creation. This God established harmony for man—and we are learning through our demonstration of this harmony how His laws of good are the only ones that govern us. When we are aware of the law of Love, for example, we feel that Love, the safety, kindness, warmth, security, joy and so on of that law.

[Additional resource FOR ADULT TEACHERS, not for young students anyway:

If you are a bit uncomfortable with the idea of God as a "Law" of good, you would enjoy reading https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/6rwtpiqf3o?s=e . It well answers the question of whether to view of God as more like the law of Love, rather than as a spiritualized "person". It doesn't make God too impersonal, or "unreachable" to touch our need for comfort, tenderness, and so on.]

Here's another way to think of this subject with young children. Do any of them enjoy seeing animals? I really love seeing wildlife, even little birds at the bird feeder, listening in the summer to insects or tree frogs around our house. If we never notice these creatures, our life might seem less rich, less varied, less colorful, less lively, right? (There are other ways than wildlife that these qualities might appear to people, feel free to choose another!) In the same way, God's love, peace, security, intelligence and joy are expressed infinitely; and we have only to "notice" this through our discovery of these laws of His in our daily lives, in order to experience these qualities in our lives! These qualities are substantial and have a substantial impact on our lives.

Pycl #3: It looks like this week the Pycls are in the category of "big ideas". I do think these ideas are important because they lead away from huge misconceptions about God that make religion something almost entirely material if they are not corrected. Here is yet another way that this week's lesson helps us see the universal nature of God as Spirit, not a "guy" that is spiritual. The Golden Text tells us that He is not worshiped "with men's hands", nor does He live "in" a church.

Then, in the Responsive Reading we get Jesus' illustration of this concept with the story of the wise man who built his house on a rock versus the foolish man who built on the sand. This is a perfect illustration of why worshiping God is something done through living in obedience to the laws of God. Ask the children (yes I do realize this is a parable), "Did God reward the wise man and punish the foolish one?" Hopefully, they will answer "no", but you can ask more questions to help them along in that direction if not.

The wise man followed the laws of God that are expressed through reflected intelligence, wisdom, patience, thoughtfulness, and so on. His obedience to these laws gave him peace, security, joy, stability. The foolish man either wasn't aware of these laws, or maybe was too busy with matter—wanted the "beach front" house, the quick fix, the immediate gratification.

Explain that a lasting house (in those days before concrete) had to be set on rock for that kind of stability. This analogy can be broadly expanded on. (What does the "rock" stand for? How is that applied to our life?—and so on.) The lesson for this week, at least to me, lies especially in the idea that Jesus is revealing to us something about God's nature as a law that we can rely on. When we look to Him that way, and not in a materialistic way, this is the rock that Christian Science provides to us today.

Have a great Sunday School class!

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