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[PYCL— Find substantial happiness by letting go of matter! (6)  Set up a treasure hunt!]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for:

Substance
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for March 16, 2014

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com   (314) 406-0041
[with bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS Director]

[PYCL 1]  What does “substance” mean? Depending on the age of the group you teach this may be defined in a more or less detailed way. Why is this a subject of a Bible lesson? (Beyond the fact that Mrs. Eddy said so.)  Why isn't it a name for God?  I've mentioned these questions before but they are worth revisiting.  Make sure you have some ideas of your own to share.  And it's okay to leave these questions out there as things to continue to ponder if you all don't come up with “final” answers.  It's great for kids to understand that we don't have to have simple and quick answers to every question we ask.  Maybe they want to think about it and revisit it during class or next week even.

[PYCL 2]  What is the substance of the story in the Responsive Reading (R.R.) about the loaves and fishes?  You can look at CedarS’ Met for this week and see some ideas of what the bread and numbers of baskets might mean.  Are these ideas the “substance” of that story?  Why does Jesus ask them to “gather up the fragments” (also mentioned in the Met).  In a younger class you can give each child a basket and bring 'substantial'/spiritual ideas written on folded note cards.  You can come up with these ideas together.  Something that lasts forever is something substantial.  At the end of citation S5 it says: “Which ought to be substance to us,–the erring, changing, and dying, the mutable and mortal, or the unerring, immutable, and immortal?”  There are lots of words to discuss in there.  But it's interesting to think about; what changes, dies, is sometimes wrong or mistaken, these are not substance.  So much of what we see around us falls into this category.  If it does, well then, it's not substantial.  So can we think of what is?  Then you can write these down to 'fill' your baskets.  You can also bring them some fish crackers for fun… or you could put one fish cracker in the basket for each substantial idea.  You may be able to lead this in the direction of talking about how the discovery that something is not substantial makes it something that can be removed from our experience.  This is what happens when we are healed, we don't “get rid” of something that's real.  We discover that it was never real to begin with and we see that fact.

[PYCL 3]  The story of David and his army in section 2 will probably be unfamiliar to the kids, so that should be a fun one to talk about.  Read it in full before you come to the class so you know the whole story and can share some background.  After reading can you talk about why it's in the lesson this week?  Depending on the age group you can look through the S&H portion and pick a citation or two that seem most helpful in thinking that through.  Do tell the story in your own words unless the class is older.  Is it a story about stuff being lost and restored?  What is important here?  Try to imagine coming to your home town and finding your house burned to the ground along with all your neighbors’ homes.  All of your family is gone.  What would you do?  What did the men with David want to do?  What did David do?  What is a response that is substantial—leads to resolution/restoration?

[PYCL 4]  You may enjoy talking about citation S8.  What does 'contrast' mean.  Bring in some contrasting items or pictures to illustrate this.  Then talk about what Mrs. Eddy means when she says that “The false evidence of material sense contrasts strikingly with the testimony of Spirit.”  For the littler ones you can put this in different words and you can follow it with your own “conversation”, as she does when she continues.  Feel free to add some humor.  I think it's important to point out that there is no matter at all in Spirit… S5… no Truth in error.  You could illustrate this with the idea that you can't put a little light into darkness or a little darkness into light.  They just don't mix!

[PYCL 5]   In the next section you can certainly just talk through the Bible parables that Jesus shares.  But bringing it back to the substance idea you can take each one and talk about how it relates to our subject this week.  I love that in the first parable about the woman looking for her silver, she lights a candle.  You could joke with them about how we look for a valuable item.  Do we turn on the lights and work methodically from one end of the room to the other in every corner?  Do we pick up the messes and put things away that are messy?  Isn't that a little like getting our thought in order so that we can let God's light/truth lead the way to an answer?  If matter thoughts are cluttering up our mental space, we can't see the valuable, precious spiritual ideas that make our life what it truly is!  With the little ones you could set up a treasure hunt in advance in a dark part of your church.  Maybe you have a furnace room or utility closet.  After discussing this idea, each could be given a flashlight to discover the treasure.

[PYCL 6]   The Prodigal story looks at substance from another angle.  The son thought that his substance was his material inheritance.  This is something that is “changing” and “mutable” as we mentioned before.  It was not the substance of his true heritage, as he later found out.  Can the kids articulate what his real, substantial inheritance was?  Can we ever lose this inheritance?   Can we ever do something so terrible that God won't be there to welcome us?  You may enjoy looking at citation S13 and talk about what she is referring to when she talks about “weaning”.  If we aren't letting go of matter, then we can't really find God/good.  It's that letting go that is essential.  What does that mean exactly?  You can also talk about what is substantial happiness here!

[PYCL 7]  I like the persistence in the story of the blind men.  It reminds me of how persistent the woman with the silver was in the parable in the previous section.  Talk about what persistence means.  I also like that this section helps us see that even though substance is a completely spiritual idea, no matter involved, it still impacts our present understanding in a way that is concrete.  These men no longer experienced blindness; we have healings all the time!  Is this what is meant in citation B13 about how “all flesh” will see God's salvation?

[PYCL 8]  Shipwrecks are always entertaining to discuss.  Once again, what's the reason for its inclusion in this week's lesson?  What was lost in this story?  What remained?  Can you talk about our purpose in life?  What was Paul's purpose?  Do we each have a vital purpose?  With the littler ones you could give them each a board that you bring in.  It represents a piece of the ship.  On each board we could write down some of our ideas about our purpose in life.  These are the ideas of substance that “save” us from going down with the “matter” of the “ship”.  We can never be “erased” or lost, our purpose is given us from God and is carried out through God's action.  Matter can't thwart that, even if it looks like it can sometimes.  So we don't have to be afraid, God is forwarding us and protecting and guiding us.  He is expressing Life through us.

Have a great Sunday! [and beyond!]

 

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