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[PYCL: Don’t try to fix matter. Nurture spiritual sense. Develop spiritual muscles by turning things into thoughts. Share the oil of gratitude! Leap & praise God in every action! (1-6)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Substance”
for March 12, 2017

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

Pycl #1: A fundamental of Christian Science is that matter is not the reality that it seems to human sense. (Matter is not real!). How to bring this to light without it being a lot of words is a matter of true Christian Science healing. So, the best way to handle this subject is probably not by talking, as much as sharing examples of how the spiritual is substantial (rather than starting with "matter isn't real"). A lot of children are ready to concede that matter isn't real, and that's great, but we don't want to leave it there. This natural comfort with knowing that Spirit is real, can easily be stolen away in later years when it hasn't been deeply rooted in demonstration. This morning on the way to school my 8-year-old and I talked about several healings that I had that proved that matter is not the reliable "reality" that it appears. And we shared some examples from Jesus' healing work, and from Mary Baker Eddy's healing work. All were clear-cut evidence that what we are changing in our lives through this kind of prayer is not matter, it is thought. The results of this change are certainly concrete and meaningful, but they are not about "fixing" or "altering" bad matter. So you could consider some examples from your life to share, as well as maybe some from the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's life. Of course, there are several to consider in this brilliant lesson on Substance!

Pycl #2: Much of this lesson juxtaposes the "seen" and "unseen"—what we see with material sense, and what we perceive with our spiritual senses. While it isn't often directly addressed in the lesson, there are a number of indirect references to this kind of spiritual sense. Helping clarify what spiritual sense is will help. Mrs. Eddy has two really helpful "definitions" of spiritual sense in Science & Health (S&H) on pgs. 209:31 and 505:20. These two places really make it clear that it is not a product of education, sophistication, age or any other human limitation. Rather, spiritual sense is something that we all have and we can all cultivate (nurture). Read these two definitions and make a list together of how we use spiritual sense all the time, or how we can use it more. What do we "see" when we use this spiritual sense? What is "spiritual good"? What does it mean to be "conscious" and "constant"? Do you have an example where spiritual sense helped you to see something that wasn't at first apparent? The children may have examples of their own where, perhaps, they were able to see someone they know differently by thinking more spiritually about them.

Pycl #3: The next two Pycls really spin off this seeing spiritually theme. First, try reading the first part especially, of citation S11. What "things" is she talking about? Can you come up with a list of things and what they might be transformed into as "thoughts"? A simple example to get them going might be the idea that a car, is really expressing the thought of transportation. Can transportation be too expensive? Can it break down? Can it be in an accident? In traffic? Maybe not everything translates so transparently, but you can come up with a two-column list and keep it going on future Sundays as ideas occur to you all. What is the benefit of turning things into thoughts? Are we developing the spiritual "muscles" to see spiritual reality more clearly and be more certain of its power and presence in our lives?

Pycl #4: In citations S10 and S15 words such as "form", "color", "outline" are used. In both passages they are associated most closely with Mind. How does Mind shape, define, form, outline, color? We tend to think of these things as defining the material world, don't we? We look at things around us and they have shape, outline, color, form, and so on. But what does Mind do to give something "color", is that color blue/red/yellow, etc.? We might think of color as something that makes things individual, intelligently distinct from one another, beautiful, infinitely varied. (A honey bee or butterfly, for example, is attracted to certain colors of flower, because they yield nectar—that's a useful function, reflecting the intelligence of Mind. Form might reflect Mind's useful nature, strength, structural integrity, grace and so on. None of these things are strictly material, right?! To introduce this idea to younger children you may want to compare it to drawing something spiritual. You might give them crayons or markers and paper and suggest they "draw something spiritual". Maybe that won't phase them and you can talk about what they draw, why it is or isn't spiritual. But I expect some will say that's hard to do, since Spirit doesn't "look" like a person or thing. You can think here about reflection and expression ("expression" is included in one of these passages!). The substance of Mind is absolutely expressed. Jesus proved it through healing, so do we! In this week's lesson Peter and John show that the divine "form" of man is never lame, useless, limited. They heal the lame man outside the temple in Section 5. Elisha shows that the supply of intelligent ideas is practical and provides richly in the story of the widow and the pots of oil. So, think together about these Mind ideas and how they are manifest spiritually and in our experience. What is a "form" of Mind, a "color/quality/quantity/outline".

Pycl #5: I've mentioned this before, but I love the little oil cans that CedarS has in P.A.L House, where the camp practitioner stays. These oil cans are labeled with "oil of gratitude". You could bring in such a small can. I'm sure they are available in a box store or auto parts store. Or you could just pretend to use one, and each child can take turns "pouring" that oil and sharing something they are grateful for. What does oil do for machinery? Why does the oil can have that flexible tube with the little nozzle at the end? Well, oil lubricates—makes things move better, with less friction. In so doing, it preserves as well! Now how does gratitude do this for us? When we are being grateful we are acknowledging the fact stated in citation S7. This is often a prayer and acknowledgment of faith. Sometimes it takes us a while to look back and see just how Love was meeting our every need, but it always is. The nozzle can be thought of as a way for that oil of gratitude to reach the places in our thought that seem "hard to get at". See how this exercise fits into this story. Of course, there are a number of wonderful spiritual insights that rest in this story and you might choose to focus on another! It is so exciting to consider the fact that this oil seemed to appear out of "nowhere"! Talk about an example of spiritual substance appearing in a practical way!

Pycl #6: This lesson helps us understand the substantial nature of man by seeing man more deeply as spiritual. I love Mrs. Eddy's statement in citation S16: "The radiant sun of virtue and truth coexists with being. Manhood is its eternal noon…" Have the kids draw a sun. Talk about where the sun is when it is noon. It's right over head! (Forget about daylight savings, etc.) When the sun is overhead we cast no shadows. And noon is when the sun is shedding the broadest light. So the idea that "virtue and truth" are man's "eternal noon" of existence or "being" is a beautiful analogy. We are strong, brilliant, lively, full of the true substance of Life. We are never "becoming", never "declining", but ever at our "peak".

Pycl #7: If your class is interested, you can look at the last two sections together. How is the substance of man's being like the substance of church? I noticed in S&H that the definition of Temple (S23) includes "the shrine of Love" in the fuller definition that is not included in the Bible lesson. This fits with Mrs. Eddy's definition of Church in citation S30. ("…superstructure of Truth; the shrine of Love")—"…the structure of Truth and Love." Why is our spiritual body and church so intertwined? And look at citation S26 where Mrs. Eddy tells us to "Look away from the body into Truth and Love…” pretty cool, huh? The story in citation B18 is perfect because of its link to church; the man was waiting outside the temple, and leaped and walked inside it after his healing. These two sections help us see that the substance of body and church is healing, leaping and praising God with our every action!

Have a fun Sunday!

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