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[PYCL: Experience the "big bang"— the mental expansion where material sense disappears! (#3)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Mortals and Immortals”
for May 19, 2019

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

Pycl #1: Remember Adam and Eve from last week? Well, we mentioned that their story was an allegory. We were not discussing two different kinds of creation, rather, an explanation of why mortality is the way it is, versus what God made that is true/real. This week we can help them understand that there is no duality. What is duality? Good and bad, life and death, immortal man and mortal man. We are not trying to lift up mortal man to become a spiritual man either! So, let's figure out what the point is of discussing both in this week's lesson!

Christian Science is unusual in its claim that man is solely spiritual, and not matter with a spiritual soul inside that escapes at death. First up, I love that Mary Baker Eddy (MBE) makes it clear in her writing that this stuff starts with a very real demonstration every step of the way. There is no skipping over one thing or another to arrive at an understanding and recognition of the true selfhood. She recognizes that mortal man is the stuff that often seems most real. For example, in citations S12 and S13 she says "When mortal man blends his thoughts of existence with the spiritual and works only as God works…" and "As mortals give up the delusion that there is more than one God…" (italics added). We are not denying our experience, but we are raising our consciousness until the true selfhood appears and we see that it includes "no material element."

To illustrate this idea try having the children put a sheet over their head, then a hat, then some other clothes in many, many layers. Do this with only one or two students. Use your phone to have them take a picture of the students that are completely covered in clothes. Then take off one item after the next until the student appears as he/she was at the beginning. Ask them if the child covered in clothes was visible as a person. Did they appear to be "David/Anna" etc.? I'm expecting that all can participate in this part, so you can show the dress-up kids the pictures you took. Maybe you could have guessed that they were people under there, but if you hadn't seen who was dressing up, you probably wouldn't have been able to tell who they were right? So, once they are uncovered, ask them if the person underneath was different than before? No, obviously.

That's kind of like "mortal man". It is like the person that is covered in clothes so that you can't even see their face. You know they are a person. But you can't really tell who they are. Not until you remove everything that obscures them does the "real" (immortal) person come through! So, maybe our "job" is to peel off and leave behind all the layers of mortal thinking or consciousness that we have covered ourselves with (and society has done this), until we start to glimpse our true selves!! The point is though, for this illustration, is to realize that there never were "two" people there.

Pycl #2: You have to bring in a mirror this week. There are several passages that use "glass", starting with our Golden Text and Responsive Reading. Try finding a more current translation of these passages so that the children can understand it more clearly. I am especially intrigued with the idea of looking at the difference between looking in a mirror, and looking into the "perfect law of liberty". Looking into a mirror, and seeing an image that is more or less material, we "forget" who we really are, what we are like. Whereas if we look into the "law of liberty" and continue and don't forget what we hear and we do the work that we are led to do, then we find that we are a blessed idea, rather than a flawed mortal.

So, what would the "perfect law of liberty" look like? How do we "look" into that law? A helpful passage to think about together when doing mirror "work" is in Science and Health 515:25.

Mary Baker Eddy recommends that we think what is before the mirror as God, the reflection as man, the mirror as "Divine Science". It is an interesting thing to think about. Why is Divine Science the "mirror"? With a tall sheet of roll paper, draw a floor length picture of a mirror. Label it not only "Divine Science" but also label it as being the "perfect law of liberty". What do we see of ourselves. Maybe each student has his own "mirror" that he writes down what he "looks" like (what qualities best describe him/her). These reflective qualities certainly aren't going to include any matter like hair color, etc. What kind of a list can you each come up with that expresses their spiritual identity?

Pycl #3: What is the point of trying to see beyond the suggestion that we are simply mortal beings? I think this is a question that most of us ask at one time or another, or probably should ask, anyway. There are several reasons that are kind of laced with fear, such as, "what if something bad happens that can't be simply fixed by material means?" But, I don't think fear ever leads us to joyful discovery and certainly doesn't inspire us to love and understand God. One positive point that looking to a spiritual understanding of being brings, is the truly expansive sense that it can give us of infinite Good.

Mary Baker Eddy says it best when she tells us in citation S5 that "…thought expands into expression." This is a constant sense of creation happening around us, freshness, newness. It reminds me that maybe this is the "big bang"— the mental expansion of our consciousness to include divine reality, where material sense just disappears. I have found that reaching for a spiritual understanding of our identity brings much steadier joy. Of course, healing often follows this consciousness expansion. We just generally find ourselves less boxed in.

And isn't this what we see in the Bible lesson over and over. When the Prodigal is looking for greater freedom, he finds dire restriction, and freedom upon return. When Naaman feels restricted by the demand to bathe in a dirty river, and feels boxed in by his ego when Elisha doesn't come out and perform an impressive "miracle" for him, he finds himself liberated through humble obedience. And Saul thinks that his narrow view of religious righteousness needs to be enforced throughout the land, only to find that he is liberated by the Christ appearance that opens his eyes to the infinitude a selfhood that derives from Spirit. Can the class think about how a material view of self might be limiting or boxing them in? You can start them off with some ideas of your own. What is the spiritual counterfact for each suggested limitation?

Pycl #4: Just for fun, consider looking together at citation S8. Read it. Ask the students "who are you in this analogy?" I suspect that most will answer that they are the glass, or "window pane" in this analogy. In fact, if we think about the wording, this is not so! MBE says "The manifestation of God through mortals is as light passing through the window pane." (italics added) Who is this "manifestation of God"?

A quick search of MBE’s use of the word "manifestation", shows that it is often pointing to "man" as the manifestation of God! So here, it is man, our true identity, that is the LIGHT! Yes, this is a perfect example of her gentle push from a mortal to a spiritual sense of identity. She shows us that we can drop more and more of our mortal sense of self, and find that in so doing, we discern our wholeness.

You could bring in some props to illustrate this whole scenario as you read it together. If you don't have a lot of sun, use a flashlight to illustrate the light of sun passing through the window. And remember that this passage tells us that the clearer the window the better the light is seen. While we are not "improving" matter, we can gradually drop cloudy or obscuring thinking.

Here is another illustration of the freedom we gain when we reach a higher understanding of self. You can combine this visual illustration with citation S20 where we have the three stages in the translation of mortal mind. We don't make the window higher quality, just clean it until it can no longer be a barrier, or obscure the light that we are!

Pycl #5: When Mary Baker Eddy speaks of thought rising from a material to a spiritual sense of things it makes me think of an experiment with steam. Do you own, or have access to an electric kettle? Have the students fill it halfway with water and plug it in! What do the children see happening as the water starts to get close to boiling? The steam is a transformation of the water. Talk about how the water is more solid… not in an icy way, but in the sense that we can hold it in containers, etc. They can hopefully notice the steam coming out of the kettle and you can help them if they are young, to understand that the steam is really water that has turned into vapor. Could this be similar to how we begin to view ourselves as we apply the "heat" of Divine Science and watch as this Science separates us from a false material sense of man? It also is a great analogy for how spiritual thoughts elevate us, lift us above the material, false views of things.

Pycl #6: Just a suggestion that we look at all the aspects of the story of Naaman. It is pointed out that he had a captive maid who told his wife about Elisha. She was a captive and probably a slave. But he must have been a pretty decent guy to have her want to help him? Also, when Naaman gets so angry about Elisha's request, we are told that his servants came near to him to talk him into obedience. You could assume that they were just brave because they were willing to stand up to his wrath.

But it is clear that he is a kind and just leader, or these people would not have gone to such lengths to save him. I just love these details. Do we sometimes try to proscribe how a healing should come? Do we imagine a certain timing, a certain "feeling", and a certain specific solution? Well, Naaman's story is an antidote for that feeling. Think of this next time a healing doesn't arrive the way we think it should!

Have a great Sunday!

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