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[PYCL: Expand today’s applications of Ps. 23! -1 Put Love first in all interactions! -5]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for July 30, 2017

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

Pycl #1: For the very young, a good discussion of shepherding will be a great way to begin this lesson. Christie Hanzlik has included several fun videos of sheep playing and being "herded" in her CedarS Met that you could share. It may seem distracting, but good and playful visuals can help to embed spiritual ideas of God as Love in ways that words don't always reach. Look together at Psalm 23 in its entirety and at its spiritual "translation" on p. 578 of S&H. Why is this Psalm a great one to couple with the subject "Love"? Can you and the children come up with some more spiritual sense ideas of how to "translate" this Psalm? Write up your own "version". For example, what do the "green pastures" or "still waters" stand for if you are not a sheep? What would a table be prepared with if God, or Love, set it before you "in the presence of my enemies"? Would it have food on it? Can you set up such a table? Maybe you bring in place settings… paper or real. Have a box full with everything you might need including napkins, flowers, maybe some food… but the point would be that anything you set on the table would represent the riches of spiritual inspiration that might meet any challenge an "enemy" could throw our way. What is the "enemy"? What is the OIL (p.592) that we are anointed with—with which our cup overflows? What is the cup? (p. 35 of Science & Health) Look at all the ways we can expand on this, even with young children! Keep track of all these expansions on a wall of your classroom so that you can refer to it in the future. It all adds up to the wealth of love that blesses us and meets every need, so that we truly see that we "…shall not want." Do the children see now why the shepherding imagery is so powerful even today when we don't have many shepherds, at least not in the U.S.?

Pycl #2: Think about sheep. Look at Mrs. Eddy's definition of sheep. What are the spiritually powerful ideas there? How can we avoid getting lost, hurt, and so on? Can we do that by always listening to the Shepherd and not the other sheep, or the fear of something that is threatening the sheep? There will always appear to be challenges to our safety, harmony, health, happiness. This is the nature of the suggestion that we are mortal beings. But we can always turn to our Shepherd to be led in the true direction, even if the "shadow" of evil seems scary. Check out the poem "Feed My Sheep" and a hymn tune to that poem that they enjoy. What does that poem have to say about God/Love as the Shepherd? Can you share a healing, no matter how "small" that illustrates how listening to our Shepherd has helped you in your life? You could find one in a CSPS publication to read as well. How does God/Love "shepherd" the children? Is Love really there guiding us with a shepherd's crook or "rod", etc.? Is Love bringing us to those "green pastures" every single day, and guiding us home to safety each night? Are parental corrections sometimes the way Love/the Shepherd is guiding and caring for us? Why or why not? How do we hear the Shepherd, Love, speaking to or guiding us?

Pycl #3: One way to make sure that we always see God's love for us in our day is to daily remind ourselves of the good with which we are surrounded. We might call this gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal, maybe even just a sentence or two each week in Sunday School, will help us to keep Love's blessings closer to the front of our consciousness. Think what fun it will be at the end of a Sunday School year, to send each child home with a small journal filled with gratitude from the entire year! It won't get lost or forgotten because it stays in Sunday School until we move to a different teacher. Section 1 is a great way to introduce such an idea. In citations B1 and B2 it tells us of God's power and goodness and the joy He inspires. In citation B3 Moses tells the children of Israel to "remember" (be grateful for) how they were rescued from the Egyptians. We too can think on that famous rescue and remember God's/Love's omnipotence manifest in the parting of the sea. Then, look at what the children of Israel did in citation B4, fewer than two months after they watched a sea part for them. Are we doing the same thing when we get afraid, bored, unhappy, sick and so on? Are we more interested in a material sense of happiness ("flesh pots") than in finding out what truly infinite, eternal and amazing things Love is giving us each day? When the 23rd Psalm tells us that "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want." is it saying that we are not "allowed" to want? Or that we can't possibly want or need anything good? Or is it both? If it's both, then how is Love meeting our need today? I'll bet we can be pretty calm and certain when we feel like we need something, whether it is friends, wisdom, food, energy or whatever, if we know, for a fact, that our need must already be met. Then, all we are doing is looking around us to see how that need is presently met, rather than looking for something out there that will come "fill" that need.

Pycl #4: What is the "starting point of Christian Science"? (S2) For the purposes of this lesson, that point is that God is Love. What does that mean, why is that powerful? Think about it. Love would, of course, be all-powerful, because if it allowed evil to happen it wouldn't be loving. Love must know all, because it has to meet needs in order to be loving, and to do this it must be supplying every need to every idea. Can we think of a "starting point" together, what is that? What about the starting point of an interaction with a sibling, or with a stranger, or anyone really? How does Love inform your ideas of how we must start when we are working or playing with someone else? When we always start with Love, where can we go from there? Can we ever end up somewhere that is less than lovely?

Pycl #5: Again, let's see if we can come up with some spiritual ideas that are behind the story of Elijah being fed by the brook in citation B8. Is this really true of each of us? Why was Elijah spoken to so clearly in this case? How can we be working to put Love first in all our interactions so that we can bear witness to Love's provision for us, as a part of divine law or Principle?

Pycl #6: Jesus speaks of himself as the "door" of the sheep. What does that mean to us today? How does that direct our actions? Christie points out that in some translations this word is "gate", either way, it implies a way to go into somewhere safe, or somewhere that we are invited by Love. You could have the children use their hands to represent a gate and suggest good ideas that they open the gate to, or maybe suggestions that are not so good, against which they should keep their "gate" shut tight.

Hope this gives you a few ideas for Sunday!

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