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[PYCL: 1. Put in effort…go on a trip… to make progress! 2. Draw close to God to distance yourself from fretting! 3. Follow good models to progress quickly!
4. Show that good springs from inspiration, not “Time…”]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Probation After Death
for April 26, 2020

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

Pycl #1: Be willing to put in effort to make progress!
This lesson subject can be a tough one to explain to young children. I like to think of it in terms of progress. Do you want to get better at something? A sport/art/instrument/reading, etc.? If you do, then you are interested in progress! This is a good thing. If we want to progress, we are willing to put in effort, and we always get new views of things when we are moving forward. If we are not progressing, then we are essentially not really living.

To work with children on this you might explain it in terms of a road trip. It would be boring to pile into a car and then sit in the driveway. First of all, you would be going nowhere. Second, the scenery outside your window would never change, other than day/night/sun/rain. This is a nice symbol for how we can think of living a spiritually vital life. If there is no moving—if we are sitting in the "driveway"—we will have no mishaps, no challenges (maybe other than boredom). Without these challenges, we have no progress! You can think of car breakdowns perhaps, or maybe you get some challenging weather to contend with. Perhaps you can imagine some other challenges that a trip might bring to you. In each of these situations, we are compelled to respond with qualities such as intelligence, creativity, fearlessness, love, patience, and so on. You can work together to think about what qualities we might need to see reflected from God as we go on our "trip".

It is challenge that causes us to progress, almost always! Maybe they can think together about what challenges the current pandemic situation has caused. How have they grown or progressed? How might they progress more?

What stories from this lesson can we draw on to illustrate this idea of progress that is supported by God? We have Job—a portion of his story anyway. If you wanted to, you could tell his story, which is a lesson in how his thinking progresses about God as he goes through this challenging time. I think it is helpful to point out that this is an allegory that is meant to teach us something about who God is.

What kind of progress are we seeing in the story of Elijah as he struggles to see why he shouldn't just die, instead of facing the challenges ahead? Does he find that death is not a progressive step? Does he find that he has something to learn about God and Life? (You could even talk about his next experience in the cave where he gains an insight about God as not being "in" earthquake, wind and fire…).

Then we have Jesus raising Lazarus. What does this story have to do with progress? Maybe we need to think about what death represents—an end. If there is an end to life, then there is an end to progress. Life/God is always living and progressing, so Life's reflection man, is also doing this. Death lies in the province of matter, and we aren't talking about "life in matter" as life!! Maybe that's too much for the littlest but it's a wonderful distinction to make with some of the older classes!

And we have the story of Jesus' transfiguration, which is all about "progress" right? Who else is in that story, and why are they there with Jesus?

Pycl #2: [Distance yourself from fretting & fetters in the ever-closeness of God’s peace within!]
One thing about death that is helpful to understand, is that there is no place that we can "go" where we will be closer to God than we are now. Being close to God is a matter of being conscious of God, not a matter of transitioning from life in matter to death. I love all the references in this lesson to how we cannot escape God. Citation B3 (Psalm 139:7, 8, 11) with “Whither shall I go from thy spirit?…” is a great one. You could work on memorizing this one together, or parts of it.

If you worked in last week's lesson with the bigger theme of the kingdom of God/heaven within, you may enjoy linking it to the idea in this subject that this kingdom is always with us, we "go" nowhere to earn or achieve access to it. Any suggestion of trial or testing, is something that happens within our own consciousness and is met in this same consciousness.

A challenge can sometimes seem very much like a "hell" or death experience, but is merely "…that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal Life." (S3, 584:12).

Can you liken God's closeness to us to something symbolic? Maybe think about how their moms or dads love them. Are they closer to this love if they are sitting in their parent's lap? Or is that love always the same with them? They may feel closer to the love of mom or dad in mom's or dad's lap, but they aren't actually closer!!

Pycl #3: Follow good models to progress most quickly!
How does keeping a "perfect model" in our thought lead to spiritual progress? (S16, 407:22) Talk about models in our thinking. If we want to play a musical piece really well, do we sometimes listen to someone play the piece we are learning? If they play it so badly that it is not recognizable, will it help you play it well? No!

We look for a great musician to play the piece so that we can really hear what it might sound like. Do we learn to play soccer from someone who has never played before? No, we search out a good coach or friend who knows all about the game and plays well, or did at one time. Then, we know we have a good model to follow and we will progress most quickly (along with practice!!)

What are some "models" that will help us to be happy if we can hold in thought? How about ones that will help us be good healers, like Jesus? What model would we hold in our thought if we want to be more loving? Come up with some "models" that you can write down and revisit next week in Sunday School after you have worked on holding them in your thought for a week or so.

Pycl #4: [Show good springs from inspiration, not “Time. Mortal measurements…” (SH 595]
What does citation B10 mean when Jesus says "…before Abraham was, I am."? What does this mean for "time"? What does the example of the transfiguration [and Jesus communing with Moses and Elijah] mean for time (B11, Matt. 17:1-9)? Does time or age or experience, then, have much to do with progressing spiritually? Do you have to be a grown-up to progress spiritually? No, obviously! Does time, then, exist? It is only a material construct, something that we invented to get the "trains to run on time"— and not crash into each other…

Yes, we need timing for human organization, but it is not a spiritual fact. If there is no actual time, then where does that put genetic inheritance? Okay, this might be a bit above the little ones, but if you have slightly older ones, say third grade and up, this might spark an interesting discussion. Time also plays into the falsehood that we need time in order to improve. When actually, practice, etc. (which takes "time") is more about the willingness to work, develop, progress, challenge, than it is about "time put in". Ask any athlete, artist, etc. if just spending "hours" alone, without the proper focus of thought, is all that helpful!

Have a great week in Sunday School!!

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