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[PYCL: Get your wings by putting holy thoughts of Love into action right away! (3)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“God the Preserver of Man”
for December 16, 2018

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

Pycl #1: There are several references this week to wings and feathers and the protection they provide. Maybe you could bring in a down comforter to illustrate the encompassing warmth they create through the feathers. Show some pictures of eagles or other birds with large wingspans. Then spread the comforter across your class like a big set of "wings" to show how God's "wings" might feel. What do wings represent? How do they protect baby birds in their nest? Obviously God doesn't have wings, but why might the Bible writers use that metaphor so often? It is interesting that they are strong enough to lift a bird high in the sky, warm enough to protect themselves and their babies from cold, waterproof enough to keep the babies and themselves dry! So if God's wings do keep us metaphorically warm, dry, safe….maybe we can also think of how they lift us higher in our understanding of Spirit and spiritual reality?

Pycl #2: You could work with Mary Baker Eddy's (MBE) hymn/poem "Mother's Evening Prayer", which they will likely know as "O Gentle Presence". This is drawn from the 91st Psalm, a Psalm which MBE studied very regularly and considered a vital part of her daily work.

Compare the 91st Psalm (which is excerpted in citation B22) with her poem and find the similarities and differences. How does she use "wing" in her poem. What is "upward wing"? Can you see any similarities with the ideas in her poem and Paul's experience with the shipwreck in Section 5? How was "loss, gain" in his story? Do we sometimes appear to experience challenges and then find that we are provided with the right solutions? Do you think that God is "doing" this to us? (NO) Can your students think why we might hear a few times about being in the "shadow" of God's wings? Why does that imply safety? Can you be in the shadow of something that is very far away? So how close is your Father-Mother God if you are in Her "shadow"? Also you might point out that shade would have been a vital and comforting thing in the desert climate of Israel!

Pycl #3: One more small thing about this wing theme: citation S5 speaks of "holy thoughts, winged with Love." I never gave that detail a lot of thought, but this week it occurs to me that a holy thought that is "winged with Love" is one that is lifted above the material scene for one, and for another, being "winged" implies, to me, that it is moving forward, or being active in our experience and therefore is practical, fruitful, useful. This is cool because otherwise we can have a whole lot of inspired thinking and then, if we never practice it, it is like it's "dead" or completely theoretical, because no one really benefits from those "holy thoughts"!

We might want to consider ways that our good thoughts can be "winged" this week. Can you write a sentence for the youngest children that contains an idea for some "holy thought" they can put into action right away. When they have one you can write it on a piece of paper and draw wings on either side of the idea. Talk together about what putting a winged thought of Love into practice looks like?

Pycl #4: In Section 2 we have Elijah being sent to the widow in Zarephath. This was not a town with Jews in it. Why do you think that God sent him there to find this widow? What does this tell us about the importance of every idea of God? Why did God send Elijah to a poor widow rather than a man in the town who was wealthy and could easily have fed him? Who needed this prophetic understanding of God's abundance? Who was at the "gate of the city" rather than "lying in bed"? Can we think of this as a consciousness that is really reaching out past herself and taking every action she can to survive?

I wonder if we can think about the significance of the widow being asked to prepare a cake for the prophet before one for her son and herself? Can we put God before our sense of limitation and fear? Try looking up what Mary Baker Eddy says about oil and meal in Science and Health and see if there is anything that will inspire a deeper conversation about this story. Elijah says that God has promised that the meal "…shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail…" If one thing MBE says about oil, for example, is that it is heavenly inspiration, gratitude, prayer…then we might get a clearer sense of how we can find ourselves less limited when we recognize that these are not limited resources. Not only that, but the exercise of these resources will open our thought to see those things that we might not otherwise see which literally feed us, help us, keep us safe. (S12)

Pycl #5: I have mentioned similar ideas to this in the past, but maybe sharing some nice stones with the students to represent, in this case, the way that the Lord can be our "rock", B13. Hold the rocks and discuss the qualities they represent: substance, firmness, strength—as in a good foundation, solid—something that we can hide behind when necessary and find protection. I'm sure there are many ideas here, and the Bible has many, including the idea of shade, again, in this desert land. Then they can either leave the rock for future Sunday School classes, or bring it home with them as a reminder.

Pycl #6: There are always so many great Bible stories when we have this lesson. Why not share them all and find a bunch more that illustrate this truth of God's protection of His ideas? It is neat to point out that in most cases the characters in the stories were subjected to severe challenges. Did this mean that they were not "preserved"? No, there were all sorts of ways in which the circumstances proved beyond a doubt, the care and power of Love/God to save and protect man.

Look at the story of Paul and the shipwreck in Section 5. What role did Paul's fearlessness and confidence in God play in this entire story? How can we lead more fearless lives so that we can be as certain as Paul was of our own and other's safety and security in Life? I think when we are less fearful, we hear more clearly the voice of God/Truth and find that we are led forward with greater calm and assurance.

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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