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[PYCL: Give and Receive Abundantly!]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:
“Substance”
for Sunday, March 15, 2015

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

pycl #1: I like to think of substance as that which is real, lasting, and, by extension, spiritual. When I went to Sunday school we sometimes had silly arguments, as a class, with the teacher about what was “real” or substantial, and what was not…”is the chair real?” etc. In order to avoid such esoteric silliness, it is helpful to dig into what I think is the essential core of Christian Science—that we base all our healing and thought on the fact that reality is spiritual and that matter and material sense cannot tell us truth, though it can sometimes give us hints. I haven’t found it helpful to generally declare that “matter isn’t real” to my kids. There needs to be something behind that statement that rings true, right now, in their experience. You can perhaps declare this fact when talking over a healing that has occurred in which this was proven, but see if they can come to that conclusion by asking appropriate questions (like: where did the injury/sickness go? Why was it possible for such a thing to disappear so suddenly when it would seem to normally take———time to heal?).

pycl #2: what does it mean to be “planted in the house of the Lord”? (Responsive Reading). Link this with S26 from section 5 where we are told that if “…our hopes and affections are spiritual, they come from above, not from beneath, and they bear, as of old the fruits of the Spirit.” We could talk together about the analogy of being “planted in the Lord” and what are those “courts”. We have made a tree before—but again we could build one up with qualities that the “soil” in the “house of the Lord” might consist of. I would envision this as something like a mural, but just drawing together on paper is fine. Why would things flourish in God’s court? I know that they are speaking of a structure in a palace but couldn’t we think of the court as a place where God’s law prevails, only things of substance can flourish? (Sort of like Mrs. Eddy’s court case in S&H). What are spiritual hopes, and spiritual affections? How do we make sure that we are planting and nourishing those kinds of hopes? What kind of “fruit” do they bear? Maybe life long friendships, respect, worth? Can you think of others? Tape or glue those kinds of “fruit” to the tree.

pycl #3: In S2 Mrs. Eddy tells us how we can recognize matter’s nothingness. What can we do every day to make the substance of Spirit/God appear to us? (S3 also speaks to this). Can we come up together with a “test” that will help us determine whether something is real and substantial, or absolutely nothing? The second section has some interesting thoughts about the “invisible” vs the visible. Maybe you can talk a bit about this. Do we “see” God exactly with our eyes? Do we know that God exists by seeing Him? Or do we know by evidence rather than actual physique? What kind of “proof” do we have? Why do we know that healing is proof of God’s power and presence? Can we do anything on a daily basis to “make” Spirit more substantial or real to us? How about expressing active gratitude?

pycl #4: I don’t know if riches and honor, greatness and strength are ambitions that little kids can relate to. But it might be cool to point out that B7 tells us that all these things really belong to God only. If that’s the case, can riches really mean “a lot of money”? Can power and greatness mean public praise and approval? Try using Jesus’ life as a model—what does it show us? What standard might we try using instead of fame or ability, to measure someone’s “greatness”, “riches”, and so on? How about our own? Maybe a counselor at camp is one of these “great” people rather than someone famous for their acting or musical talents? Not that there is anything wrong with such talents—it’s just important to make sure that we are really evaluating our surroundings based on what we know to be substantial spiritual qualities.

pycl #5: The met for this week from Craig points out that the story of the Hebrew captives avoiding eating the food in the king’s palace is not only a story of how food is not the basis of health, but that it is also an important part of these men establishing their “separateness” from a life of material ease—forgetting their duty to God—to worship Spirit and not matter. Sometimes it seems difficult to pay attention to the things of Spirit when we are just plain having too much fun in matter. This is part of the reason MBE tells us that “Trials are proofs of God’s care.” . Because sometimes it is the things that are difficult in our lives that turn our hearts toward God with deep desire and sincerity. When we are too comfortable with matter, we don’t always feel the need to look to God, sad, but true. How can we avoid just doing the “comfortable” thing with our friends at school? Maybe we can think carefully about whispering something unkind about someone, even though our friend has done it first. Maybe we can even think of some quality about that “victim” that can lift the conversation up and out of ugliness, a good quality that we see expressed by that person. This is acting with integrity, a truly substantial quality!

pycl #6: Make a gratitude “chest”, like a treasure chest. What does gratitude have to do with substance? Maybe when we are being truly grateful, we are recognizing the hand of God in whatever it is we are grateful for? This is what I was thinking when they included the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers this week. Why is this in the lesson? Maybe the one out of ten lepers recognized the spiritual significance of the healing as a work of God and just had to then express gratitude for that power and grace. When we see spiritual reality we can’t help being grateful! So maybe the other lepers just didn’t really see that spiritual component? I’m not sure. But we might ask how we can be one of those people that recognize God’s goodness around them and give constant gratitude, rather than someone who is blind to that power and goodness. Maybe the kids are wondering how someone with a horrible disease could possibly forget to be grateful when they were healed? Well this is not the first time in the Bible. Think of the children of Israel when they left Egypt. They watched the Red sea part, and yet they complained and whined when they were hungry and thirsty. They watched water come from a rock, where none had been before, and still in short order, they went back to fear and ingratitude. They were supplied with food every day of their journey—for goodness sake—it literally fell from the sky! But without the daily gratitude, there can still be a lack of recognition of the spiritual source and the substance behind such things. Maybe for our gratitude chest, we can think of things that we know God is giving us, and fill that chest up. Can we think of ten things each night before bed? By next Sunday at Sunday school we could have sixty things that we are grateful for on a list to put in our gratitude chest! If it is just a teacher and one student, that is 120 things we are grateful for between the two! Do you think this will help us recognize the spiritual abundance in our lives? Will it help us have more healing? Why or why not?

Have a great Sunday!!

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