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[PYCL: Heal publicans & children behaving badly with Love!]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for:

The Christian Science Bible Lesson for August 4, 2013

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041
[Bracketed inserts by Warren Huff]

[PYCL 1: Help pupils see things in a bigger picture, rather than just the current lesson.]
Here we are on the third synonym of our series in the Bible lessons. Are you keeping a running “journal” of ideas in some form in your Sunday school class? I t's not too late to start by looking over the things you've talked about in the last two lessons and seeing what this one has to offer.  It's great for the kids to see how the lesson subjects proceed and overlap as they go by.  I love to try to see things in a bigger picture when I look at each lesson, rather than just looking at the lesson in front of me.  Why did they proceed in this order? Once you start to look you find really interesting connections from one lesson to the next. Very often a subject will build on the foundation of a previous subject so that we really learn more from having studied the one before. Of course they stand alone as well, but as a child I never thought about how they followed one another, nor much about why Mrs. Eddy picked those subjects, and I'm pretty sure I would have enjoyed thinking about it.  So consider picking up this thread.

[PYCL 2: Talk about what to do instead of retaliating.  Act out scenarios.  Give away clothes.]
The whole Golden Text (G.T.) and Responsive Reading (R.R.) this week can make a really fun Sunday School lesson.  I love that the G.T in this translation makes it so clear that love is natural to us.  We love because God's love is embedded and reflected in us.  It is part of how we were created.  We can certainly cultivate and expand our understanding of Love, but we are already created in and by Love and so have it naturally as part of our being.  I think that you can take the R.R and really tear it apart.  What does it mean to the younger ones: “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”?  Where did that phrase come from and why?  You might want to explain that it arose out of a need to limit retribution or revenge to something that might be considered more even-handed or reasonable, if you will.  Today it might seem barbaric to think that we would, as adults just do something equally bad to someone who did us a bad turn, but when this law was instituted there may have been times where if a possession of someone's was destroyed, it was met with something way worse, like murder.  In light of that “an eye for an eye” would be a step up in creating a fair society.  But Jesus came along and challenged that view.  He really turned it on its ear!  Talk about what Jesus tells us we should do instead of retaliating.  Come up with some thoughts about what ways we might respond if someone did something bad to us.  Make sure you come up with ideas that are not listed here in Jesus' words.  Maybe no one wants to take your coat or get you to walk with them, maybe not even hit you… what things do we come up against that are similar today?  Act this scenario out.  For the “smiting” you may want to find something that doesn't get little boys in particular, so wound up… but if your kids are mellow, they may enjoy pretending even that part of the example and someone can clap their hands for the sound effect of a “slap”.  You can mark out a pretend “mile” and talk about what “twain” means and have “two miles” (twain) marked out to keep someone “company”.  Have a couple of clothing items for the kids to give their “friend” who asks for the “coat”, so they can give the “cloak” also.  It could easily be a hat and an umbrella, or shoes and socks or whatever seems fun, as long as they understand the point of the exercise.  Can they think of what good they can do to someone who has taken something that belongs to them? Or can they think of a way to bless someone who just did something unkind to them? Why would they do that? What does the R.R say about what our Father Mother does? What does it mean that the sun and rain land on the evil/unjust and the good/just? And what does Jesus mean when he says: “if you love them which love you, what reward have ye?” Who are publicans? What would they be today? As you can see, you could probably spend the whole class just on the G.T and R.R if you wanted!

[PYCL 3: Help pupils feel the law of tender goodness surrounding and caring for them.]
Of course, you can take the themes presented in the G.T. and R.R. and see how they play out in each story in the lesson as well.  The first section gives us no story but it lays the groundwork for a view of God as a parent of Love and compassion.  This love takes the form more of a Mother here than the masculine model, but there is a lovely example of Fathering Love in the third section with the Prodigal son.  This model of God as Mother is very accessible to little children.  They soak up this understanding of God as it is defined here.  Can they look at the palms of their hands?  Are the palms of their hands hidden away?  Well, just as we see the palms of our hands right in front of us, just in this way Love sees us and cares for us and loves us because we are each “right in front” of Love.  And this is possible because Love is not a “being”, but a law of tender goodness surrounding us, protecting us, caring for us and so on.

[PYCL 4: Share how Love was expressed for Hagar’s son, for the Prodigal son, for you… ]
As you proceed through the stories you can look for different ways that our earlier discussion plays out.  With Hagar and her son, how is God's tender love expressed for them?  Did they lose a Father when Abraham sent them away?  Did they lose a provider?  The well-known passage from many church walls about divine Love (S6) is born out in the revealing of a nearby well to Hagar, and of a welcoming Father in the Prodigal Son parable.  Did God suddenly create a well just for Hagar and her son?  Or was this Love's presence revealed to her in a time of desperate need and a sense of abandonment and loss?  Can you think of an example when it seemed like all good was unavailable until you turned wholeheartedly to God and were presented with a gift like the well?  Maybe you can share such an example. These are examples of the fact that divine Love is meeting each need, we may need to listen to those angel thoughts that bring that blessing into our view, but we can have the peace and confidence that it truly is already there!

[Check out a video reenactment skit of "Hagar and Ishmael”You can download a PDF-formatted script of this skit with follow-up questions by clicking on the link in the upper right corner of CedarS current metaphysical webpage.  This summer, as cabin groups of all ages tour CedarS Camps Bible Lands Park, they have had the opportunity to re-enact stories like this one from the current Christian Science Bible Lesson.  Nearly every week this summer, videos of the selected skits have been posted on the CedarS website as well as on a community webpage for  These scripts and follow-up questions may be downloaded free of charge by those seeking Bible-centered activities and contemporary applications for Sunday School classes and/or Bible study groups. These Bible skits were written by Sara Romo, a CedarS counselor, as part of her Girl Scout Gold project. With ongoing support, we hope to keep up this exciting new resource and improve it.]

[PYCL 5: Share the “daily” sort of spiritual intuitions about what to do and how to behave… ]
You can also take this as an opportunity to talk about angels if that is an interest.  What are “spiritual intuitions”?  Can anyone have them?  Are they only available occasionally and to particularly “good” people?  Is there another example of such spiritual intuition being expressed in this lesson?  Do you think that's what convinced the Prodigal to return home despite his shame?  Can you think of examples of a “daily” sort where we have spiritual intuition about what to do or how to behave?  These are our ever-available, daily angels!  They are always with us, everywhere we go!

[PYCL 6: Take the opportunity to heal every “publican” or older son view of things.]
You can look at the Prodigal story, in its entirety (older son too) and see how it represents a lovely example of what we talked about in the R.R about the sun and rain falling on all, God's love blessing everyone.  Look at the beginning of the story where it says: “Then drew near to him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.”  The first half of the story is for the “sinners”, the people who feel ashamed of what they have done, who feel separate from God/Love, and badly they about themselves.  The second half is for the “publicans”, the people who do the “right” thing, but maybe just because they feel they should, or out of a sense of self righteousness and superiority, rather than genuine love for God or goodness.  You can tell if you are a “publican” if you feel like you are better than others, or are bothered by how others behave and don't take the opportunity to humbly address your own thought about it.  This is a cool thing to bring up because it's not always something we are aware of!  (See the CedarS met for a lovely personal example of healing a “publican” view of things.)  Kids often measure themselves and their behavior against others, rather than thinking of life as between them and Love.  Love “runs to meet” all of us, wherever our thought might be.  Love is right there offering all of us divine, blessed son-ship and “daughter-ship”.

[PYCL 7: Heal children behaving badly with Love; help them see their responsibilities… ]
It's great to look at this lesson in terms of how Love is a parent, and how we are Her children. It's funny that all the children in this lesson seem to be behaving in unloving ways. Notice that Ishmael was taunting Isaac, that's what got them sent away.  The Prodigal obviously behaved badly as did his older brother… maybe it's taking it too far to say that the son that died in section 5 was “behaving badly” by dying and leaving his widowed mother without support… but once again we are talking about a parent-child relationship being restored here.  You may find something in this idea to think about.  Why is the parent/child relationship emphasized in a lesson about Love?  Maybe obvious, but there is much to think about and embrace whether you are a parent or a child.  What are we looking at here?  Have some fun thinking about this together.  What are our responsibilities as a child?  Ask them what they think the responsibilities of a good parent are!

Have a great time with this lesson!


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