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[PYCL: Enjoy your duty of following! (1) Bring a net, seeds, ingredients, cookies, (3, 4, 5)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

“Christ Jesus”

on February 28, 2016

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

Pycl #1: "come and follow me." is the Golden Text and theme of this week's lesson. Sweet and simple. What does that mean? How do we do this? Every age of child should be able to find some way they can follow Jesus. Page 37:22-25 of Science & Health (S&H) tells us that it is the duty (and privilege!), not only of every man and woman, but also of every child to follow Jesus' example and heal! This is also the final citation of the lesson this week (S30). What is a duty? What is a privilege? With the very young children you could take them on a short walk, have them take turns being the leader of the line. What makes a good leader? What if you lead people into walls, etc.? You could give them an example if it doesn't make things too silly. What makes a good follower? How do you know what you should follow? Are there questions that you can come up with together that will help you decide how to know what we should follow? What are the things Jesus did that he says we should follow him in doing?

Pycl #2: This leading and following idea could be expanded on… The Responsive Reading has Peter asking Jesus about another disciple. [See CC Download (RR).] I don't know about all kids, but mine often are asking questions about "fairness"—"why doesn't Charlie have to…." "How come Huck got to go to…" I'm sure most of us have heard these kinds of things!

Jesus reminds Peter that the important thing is following him, not worrying about what others are doing! This passage is followed by Paul's question about what could possibly separate us from the love of Christ. Put Paul's "list" of things that might try to separate us from Christ's love into things that children understand. They can come up with their own thoughts; they are just variations of what Paul mentions. Now, on your walk, talk about things that might get in the way of your path to following. Literally, it might be a fallen tree (a chair), a big boulder… you get the idea. Figuratively, maybe the barriers are things like having hurt feelings and harboring unkind thoughts about someone who was mean to us. How difficult are the obstacles to get around? Here, you can bring into the discussion what Jesus says in citation B16. He tells us that it's not that big a deal if we are patient and understanding about being reprimanded for something we did wrong, after all, we did do the wrong thing. The real good we stand to do comes from returning love for hatred or unkindness. That is—we need to remain loving and patient when we are criticized (or worse), when we have done no wrong!

Pycl #3: What does it mean to be a Christian? Citation S3 brings clarity to the answer to that question. Bring in a net. You may have something that is just sort of net-like fabric, or you can buy it inexpensively by the yard at some box store like Wal-Mart. Talk about what nets do. Show them some pictures of how they used to throw a net over the side of the boat to catch fish in Jesus' day. (Of course, modern pictures of this would work as well!) Talk about what nets are supposed to do. They not only capture the fish, but also some varieties tangle the fish up in the net so that they cannot back out or swim through. You could talk about how some of the things we confront on a daily basis, how we get along with our friends, our desires to constantly have something entertaining to do (video games, what have you), too many cupcakes… whatever seems appropriate to your class… can become like those nets, capturing all our attention and efforts. If we aren't careful to think more spiritually about who we are as Christians at some level, we become like those fish, captured by all the flash of material things. This is kind of hard to do without sounding awfully didactic and boring so you may have to intersperse this with something to illustrate exactly how much fun we stand to have if we are doing the right thing at the right time. (Something that is also made clear repeatedly in this lesson!) Video games, cupcakes, whatever they choose to use as examples, are not inherently evil, just need to be channeled in the right ways. When Jesus said to leave their nets and follow him, he was, of course telling them they should give up their careers as fishermen, but he was offering them more! (B12) This is the other side of dropping some of the joy we take in matter and material things. There are many citations that address the things you gain from being willing to follow Jesus and consequently leave matter behind. We won't "abide in darkness" (B7); We'll be able to heal (lots of citations); gain joy and freedom and "triumph over the body" (S13), and so much more. Please do have some specific examples from your own experience and others so they glimpse this! Whatever we decide to stop doing, it is always more fun if there is something better we have in mind with which to replace it. (For example: If we really, really want to torment our younger/older sibling, think of the most fun we have ever had with our sibling. How was it fun and why did having them along make it even more fun? Don't we want more of that?)

Pycl #4: There are several elements in the story in citation B14 that can lead to some fun thinking. Bring in some seeds of plants that grow large. Even a corn seed, which is large relative to the Palestinian mustard seed which the "MyBibleLesson" points out, is the size of a poppy seed, makes a plant that is taller than most adults. You can show them pictures of such plants with people next to them or something to give them some scale. Then, you can talk about what Jesus was trying to say by using this mustard seed analogy. It should encourage us that he points out that our faith doesn't have to be so huge to be effective! (There is much more to this analogy that you can expand on. Think about how the seed transforms in the earth and water. Think of the process of cultivation/weeding/fertilizing and what these stand for. It is no wonder that a tiny seed of faith can grow if we tend it properly!) The other angle of this story that is interesting is the persistence that Jesus encourages. The S&H citations expand on that idea of persisting in truth. Especially citation S21 is a good source for this, as it touches on some of the things we've been addressing about the dead-end nature of taking joy in matter.

Pycl #5: Section 5 contains the key ingredient to healing and one that children can really grasp. Why is "Love for God and man… the true incentive in both healing and teaching."? What does that mean? The citations in S&H here give us some pretty clear directions on how we might show our love, or develop more of this love for mankind. Can they read these citations and share what they think they can do to nurture that love in their lives? Make a list together of ways to show our love for our family, friends, neighbors, strangers, even the world. Revisit this list in a week or so to see what we've done. Speaking of ingredients, can you "bake" something together? Bring in simple ingredients for something that you could put together in class and bake at home. Look at each ingredient. What would happen if you left one out? You can figure out that some ingredients are more essential than others. Some, if left out, would make the recipe yield an inedible baked good. Why would love be the most important "ingredient"? Is it the most "active"? Is it the one that we feel the most readily? Is it the one that helps us recognize God's presence the most clearly? If you have the time to bake a batch of whatever it is that you put together in class and hide them until the end, sending them home with a brownie or cookie or something after class—that would be kind of cool. Or bring them next week to continue the conversation.

We have visited over the topics this week of following Jesus, leaving our material desires, loving even when we unjustly treated, taking up the cross (the challenges of doing the aforementioned things), being a Christian–these might seem heavy topics for a child. But our greatest joys come from the demonstration of Love–divine healing. CedarS Camps give us a great example of the kind of fun that we stand to have when our feet are planted on the firm ground of following Christ Jesus. We are not being asked to have a drab or boring life—rather we are being given the opportunity to experience the fullest life possible with infinite good in it rather than a life limited at every turn by false promises of matter. I don't know if you can come up with your own ideas of how to convey this thought (I would probably illustrate it with personal experiences/adventures). I can't think of a Sunday School activity that would illustrate this idea. But I would hate for the kids to feel that what Christian Science asks of us, what our Master asked of us, could possibly lead to anything other than the fullest joy possible. Let's contemplate this idea together and see what unfolds for the children along this line for the week!

Happy Sunday!

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