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[PYCL: Give charity vs. get revenge-5; Experience rich joy that comes from seeing man not dependent on circumstances. Find identity in spiritual terms-4; Use our Pastor to clarify-1]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

"Man"
for September 3, 2017

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

Pycl #1: Really use our Pastor to answer questions and clarify terms

Depending on the age of your students, it would be helpful for us to connect last week's lesson on Christ Jesus to this week's lesson on man. You could put them side by side if you have print outs and find the passages that use the word idea, (as just one helpful insight). "Christ is the divine idea voicing good…" says one passage from last week's lesson. "Man is idea, the image, of Love;" says citation S11 this week. How is man similar to Christ; how is man different? Brainstorm these similarities and differences on a sheet of paper. I wonder if we could do a Venn diagram with this? Do the Christ and man overlap? If so, how? One thing I love, and love to share with young people, is the clarity found in Christian Science surrounding theological terms and ideas. Truly, Mrs. Eddy speaks transparently about these terms and we could gather quite a few citations dealing with them and look at them side-by-side—even beyond the Bible lesson. In so doing, we are also modeling how we really use our Pastor to answer questions that we have, and to clarify terms!

Pycl #2: Look at man—body—temple. The Bible uses this term in the Responsive Reading: "…ye are the temple of the living God…" Why is man a "temple of God"? What does that mean? You will need to think together about what a temple is, what church is, how Mrs. Eddy defines church. Does her definition apply to man? Does it apply to our bodies? If the Bible tells us we are the temple of the living God, are we talking here, about our physique? Many people think so, and cite this passage to tell us to make sure we are taking proper care of it. Keep in mind that the Jews felt that God actually resided in their temple—maybe elsewhere also—but definitely in it. But we don't look at this as a passage about how God lives or acts in our physique. We see it spiritually, that our spiritual identity, our spiritual body, reflects the divine, and radiates that divine identity. In that way we are truly His temple. We have that structural integrity, purity, strength, and the warmth, healing power and tenderness of the church Mrs. Eddy defines as "The structure of Truth and Love…" As such, we can enjoy the spiritual healing that comes through recognizing that we truly are the "temple of the living God". We reflect that Truth and Love in our activities. In this Sentinel article https://sentinel.christianscience.com/issues/1948/6/50-25/i-have-been-a-student-of-christian-science is just one example of healing that someone shared long ago in the periodicals, connecting these ideas of being a "temple of God" with man. You may have something from your own experience to share, all the better! If you share the testimony above, you will want to show them the article and then just tell her story, they don't need all the details included to understand this illustration.

Pycl #3: Since God is not physical, describe His reflection in non-physical terms. I love citation B3 in light of this subject. "…my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." Once they know what graven images are, think together about what this is really saying today. Maybe we could think of this as saying that God would never be reflected in material body. His image could not be mortal man. We can think about how we limit our thoughts of God and what he can do, and then how we limit our thoughts about what we can do, based on the limits of matter. Along with this Bible passage you could look ahead to citation S11 and Mrs. Eddy's definition of man which tells us that man is idea and not physique. We don't think of God as physique—how do we think of Him? If we did make an "image" of God, what would it "look" like? Pretty soon we will discover here, that we can't describe God that way. How can we describe God? (Hopefully there will be a bunch of spiritual qualities that come up.) Now, how do we describe man? (Again, hopefully we will start to see together, that if man is not physique, then arms, legs, eye color etc. won't be on the list of how we describe God's reflection). You can use a mirror here to help with this idea. If we held a mirror up to God, and God is not physical, we'd have to describe His reflection in non-physical terms. But wouldn't they also be completely clear? Just like we look in a mirror and see our face exactly as it is (but backwards), so God's reflection will be exactly as He is!

Pycl #4: This brings us to a visit about identity. This lesson has some very current and helpful citations about identity. Now that we've established that we are truly spiritual reflections of God. We can also start to see that since God is infinite our identities are not identical but infinitely varied. Our identities are not "boy" or "girl", "tall" or "short", "small" or "big" and so on. Our identities can only be described in spiritual terms. So, you can come up together with some spiritual identity qualities that are perhaps more specific to each child. When they share a thought about their identity, ask why that quality? How is that spiritual? If the quality doesn't seem spiritual, can we think about what spiritual quality their idea suggests? Why is it important to understand our identity and where it comes from? Doesn't our lasting happiness depend ultimately on how we understand our identity? If our identity comes from boundless Life/Soul/Love, we are going to experience the rich variety, joy, satisfaction, that comes from seeing that we are not dependent on material circumstances or even on our "own" thought, to make us happy and whole.

Pycl #5: [Give charity vs. get revenge.] Read the story of Nabal and Abigail together, or tell it. We don't get this one often in the lessons, so don't miss it! Here it is rather uniquely presented as a lesson on how the false sense of man as material (Nabal), is rendered powerless by Abigail (the true man). What qualities does she express that defeat Nabal's selfish and rude conduct? See citation S16 where Mrs. Eddy tells us what the One God does. Didn't Abigail perfectly reflect this divine picture of God? You can also see that she embodies and reflects the full spectrum of male and female qualities.

Another angle to this story is to look at citation S15 where Mrs. Eddy tells us that we have to "…master the propensities, —hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer… revenge with charity…" Explain these terms and then talk about how Nabel was not able to "master" any of his evil propensities—whereas David, when met with Abigail's humility, charity, generosity, courage, intelligence, was able to master his desire for vengeance! When we express Love, we help others to do the same! Can we see why it is important through what she says in there ("…if we would not cherish and army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.")—and you must discuss "army of conspirators"! What a great image to expand on with young children!
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