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[PYCL: Drink in the water of Life, the Christ that heals and revitalizes us with fresh ideas!]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

"Life"
For July 16, 2017

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

Pycl #1: I like the idea of asking the children what it means to them to be "alive". What is "living"? List together, as many qualities associated with Life as you can. Craig, this week's CedarS’ Met writer, has some technical, material definitions of life at the beginning of his Met this week and you can look there for somewhere to start. Is your/their definition of life one of life in matter? How does breathing, eating, drinking, etc. compare with the "law" and "commandments" that are mentioned as life giving in the Responsive Reading? Look together at the first chapter of Genesis where God gives man life, but doesn't "breathe into his nostrils the breath of life" (Gen 2:7). In the true creation, the spiritual creation, God essentially expresses man, male and female, in His image and after His likeness. He doesn't "form" them after something material or out of material "stuff". God is spiritual, life is spiritual, man expresses Life as spiritual being. So, now could you all look at the "material qualities" of life and translate them into the true qualities. For example, something living must breathe. Breath is translated as spirit. So maybe we could understand that rather than the material process of bringing in air, constructed of the right proportions of certain gases, we are absorbing Spirit and Spirit's ideas. We are drinking in the water of Life, the Christ that heals and revives and revitalizes us, brings us fresh ideas…. See what you can all come up with together. Understanding that our sense of mortal existence in a mortal body is like a dream and it corresponds to our consciousness. By spiritualizing our consciousness, we can come to a clearer sense of our existence as spiritual.

Pycl #2: I love the image in the Responsive Reading of the tree growing by the river. I think this analogy is one that we could easily expand upon in Sunday School. Ask the obvious: why would a tree be always green and flourish in the midst of drought? Younger children may not immediately see this analogy. Now, what does that mean for us? What does that river represent in our daily lives? How can we be always "green and fruitful"? Give them each a card with a beautiful photo of a tree by a river, looking lush. You can put the quotation under it for them. This would be like a bookmark they can bring home with them. I feel like being unaffected by material "drought" around you, by a lack of spiritual insight, lack of love or health and so on, is a very real challenge for all of us at one time or another. But if we keep ourselves "planted" by the "river of Life", stay close to God in our thoughts and deeds, we find we are never bereft of spiritual insight, love, understanding, health, holiness, and so on.

Pycl #3: Life should be enjoyed. And I'm not sure how this will work with younger students, so you'll have to kind of assess your own class. The thing about having fun is that the pursuit of enjoyment doesn't really yield lasting enjoyment. In other words, if we spend our time trying to have fun, it is like trying to hold water in your hand. You can manage to keep a small pool, but most of it slips out between your fingers. Camp is a great place to have fun. We do cool activities and are surrounded by friends and great staff, but the fun is based in spiritual truth, in Life. This is why, no matter how far we get from camp, we can still feel that sense of "home" that is the kingdom of heaven within, when we think of CedarS! The cool activities are an expression of Life, not an "end" in themselves. For example, we might enjoy a good meal. But the point of that meal is to fuel ourselves. There is nothing wrong with enjoying that "fueling" process, but the true goal is not to take in "fun" fuel. Likewise, the goal at camp, whether we realize it or not, is to see God around us in all our activities. When we recognize God's/Life's presence around us we then find that lasting sense of fun and joy in what we are doing. This lasting joy can't be spoiled by false suggestions of inharmony of any kind. It is deeper and more permanent than simply going swimming or riding horses. You could certainly use the hand and water analogy here; have them hold their hand under the drinking fountain. Taking the analogy further, you could drink from your hand and get a little sip each time. Or you can think of spiritual Life as drinking from a deep well and using a large glass—a bucket even, that way you can be assured of a really thirst quenching amount! This is what we are hoping to take home from camp, rather than a "sip" of "fun"!

Pycl #4: Look at citation B1. Life is God's Love, light, health. The opposite is "…the mortal sense of the absence of light." rather than the presence of darkness (S4). Give the students flashlights to hold and test. When the light is on and we sit under the table where it is darker (you can bring in a table cloth to cover the table and lend darkness to this exercise), we can see that these lights displace the darkness. You can talk about the question of "where" the dark went. This is like Life itself. It never goes into or out of matter. When we are praying to overcome a sense that we feel of darkness/sickness/sadness/inharmony, we are not "getting rid of darkness" or scooping it up and putting it out of the way. Turn off your flashlights and have the kids try to "catch" the dark and put it out from under the table. Hopefully, they'll giggle at this idea. Ask them what we could do instead to make things light. Either turn on the flashlights, or pull off the table cloth! Bring that analogy into focus with our subject of Life, which is like that light, always there to displace the dark. Turning on our "light" or lifting the "tablecloth" is like waking up our consciousness to Life's ever-presence.

Pycl #5: Here we are at Pycl number 5 and we haven't touched any of the wonderful stories in this week's lesson! Each embraces an aspect of Life that is untouched by the material suggestion of life. You can choose which aspect is most meaningful or choose all the stories to address. All, kind of link to the idea that Life is the source of all being that is harmonious. Neither matter, food, wealth nor physical health can affect Life and our reflection of Life. Notice that Enoch, while he did live for a long time, humanly, did not live eternally in matter. This is an important point. We are not looking for eternal mortality…it doesn't exist because it's not based in reality, in Life! We welcome Life into our consciousness and relish the experience of vigorous and full living as we base our sense of living on Life itself rather than mortality's pale imitation.

Have a great Sunday!

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