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[PYCL(8): Find & use the key to “no parting, no pain, & man deathless & perfect & eternal.”]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lesson for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:

Probation after Death

Sunday, October 26, 2014

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

[Bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS 1st camper, current director & PYCL editor]

 [PYCL 1]
This lesson has a wealth of ideas to run with. In keeping with the thoughts of the Responsive Reading you could address the concept of heaven, God's “tabernacle”, and His “courts”, and why purity is key to being in His presence.  What does 'purity' really mean on a day-to-day basis?  You could resort to the classic object lesson of bringing in one glass of clear water and one with mud swirling around in it.  In one you can see right through it—such a consciousness allows God's goodness, love, joy, intelligence shine through for all to share. The muddy one has extra 'matter'—sediment—that can be stirred up at any time by the challenges that come and cloud both our own view of God and other's view of God through our actions.

Obviously these next two ideas might best be employed in the very youngest classes, but you may be able to use the analogies successfully with older children.
 [PYCL 2]
When the Bible says “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?”, you can talk about the idea of ascent, the purity of thought that “rises” above the pull of matter. There are two little experiments that come to mind.  In one you could bring in small blocks of wood and write pure qualities on them, and stones which have not-so-pure qualities written on them. Have the kids drop them in the pan of water.  What happens to the “pure” thoughts—and to the others? Do we want to be “tied” to those heavy “stones” of impure thoughts?  When I'm talking here about “impure thoughts”, I'm not speaking of the “adult” version, rather the broader notion of anything that is not elevating in our experience.

 [PYCL 3]
Another related idea: this lesson has a lot of references to doors and gates through which we “enter” heaven.  Essentially it is through our love for and demonstration of Christ that we enter heaven/are in the presence of God.  What if you brought in a sifting mechanism, a screen or flour sifter?  Bring some flour or fine sand that will fit through whatever sifting “machine” you have.  Talk about how the finer thoughts go right through the “door” to the kingdom of heaven, while the clunkier, bad thoughts don't fit through God's gate/door.  Have the kids drop in large items that represent such thoughts: grumpiness, sadness, frustration, unkindness, disobedience… etc. Then they can see what “goes right through God's door, and what doesn't.  Talk about how we need to do this “sifting” in our own thought.  This is our “job”!  We have to progress (another theme of this lesson).  This work of sifting and sorting helps us see God and see who we are without the weight of “error” thoughts.

 [PYCL 4]
Another idea is that you could issue each child a big key at the beginning of class.  “Today, I am giving you the key to the Kingdom of Heaven”.  Maybe look at Mrs. Eddy's definition of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Talk together about what this key is comprised of.  Is it withheld from anyone?  How does Christian Science figure into it?  How does the Christ? (S2)  What “opens the door” (S6, S4, S5, S10 and so on).  Obviously, they need to go away from the conversation understanding that God's “door” is always open to every single child of his creation—everyone!  But, it's our own misconception of who we are, what will satisfy us and so on, that makes that door sometimes seem closed.

 [PYCL 5]
With some of the older children it might be good to touch on the subject that it is not through death that we reach heaven.  I think that traditional view is still confusing to many, even when raised in Christian Science.  Read the stories together (or retell citation B12).  Why is this an illustration of this fact?  Can we ever be deprived of the opportunity to progress and rise spirit-ward?

 [PYCL 6]
What's with the story of Dives and Lazarus?  Retell or read this one to your class.  Ask them what it's about and why it's in this lesson.  Make sure they understand that it's a parable and that they know what a parable is.  Who tells this parable and what was he teaching through it (similar, I know, to what it's about)?  Citation B9 has the passage “…the wages of sin is death”.  Do they know why?  Living in matter and enjoying it, means we are not totally thinking and living in Christ.  In fact, we are not understanding reality are we?  Matter dies, Spirit and things spiritual are immortal, live forever.  And citation B10 speaks to the “sifting” exercise.  The judge might be thought of as the “screen” that only allows the finer thoughts/ideas through the door.  So Dives was really enjoying the heck out of his material existence.  He had some progress to make before he could even experience any understanding of heaven.  That's why he would seem “stuck” in hell.  Matter certainly has the ability to seem pleasant when all is going well, but then what happens when it's not going well and we haven't been struggling and striving to understand the Truth?  It's like exercise.  If you aren't used to working hard physically, you may find yourself unequal to a physically demanding task because you just haven't been working in that way!  So rain or shine, we should be exerting ourselves in the right direction!

 [PYCL 7]
There is also the thought in Section 4 of there being only one “route” to heaven.  It is through our love for and demonstration of Christ and healing.  We can see around us all sorts of other routes that matter maps out for us.  A common adult route is diet and exercise, the right kinds of food, and other self-help style approaches.  Any of these can be useful when viewed from a spiritual basis, but if we are just looking to improve through material means our progress will be up-and-down and back-and-forth, never genuinely productive.  Christ always brings us higher.

 [PYCL 8]
I am really enjoying the final citation of the lesson this week.  “Spiritually to understand that there is one creator, God, [unfolds all creation, confirms the Scriptures,…]”  That would seem to be that “key” that we are looking for.  I'm not sure I have a lot of great thoughts to share with this, but it may be a wonderful thing to ponder this week and see what comes of it.  Ask the kids why understanding that there is only one creator… hence one creation, is key to all that follows in that sentence [“brings the sweet assurance of no parting, no pain, and man deathless and perfect and eternal.”].

Have a great Sunday!

 

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