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[PYCL: Illustrate the sun & rays… talk about "coexistence," a ladder, gravitational pull. (1-3)
P
ossible Younger Class Lesson Ideas for Sunday School from
the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on:

“Soul”
For August 16 2020

By Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com • 314-406-0041

Pycl #1: Illustrate the sun and its rays … talk about "coexistence"
A lesson on Soul always needs some sun! Draw a huge sun together or over zoom! Make sure your sun "model" has rays that are extending directly from the sun for our analogy to work the best. Talk about what it means for something to be an "analogy" or a "symbol/metaphor" if the children are not too young. Read or say in simple words, S1/Science and Health p.510: 16-18, and S7/p. 477:20-26 Identity, 29.

Look at your drawings and talk together about how the rays are from the sun, they are utterly dependent on the sun for light and warmth, but they are not "the sun". Just like we are the "light and warmth" of Soul when we express Soul's qualities of joy, creativity, beauty, intelligence, etc. We are not the source of these qualities, but they reach everyone around us through our active work to radiate/express these qualities.

Then, talk about "coexistence" which is a lovely word to explain how Soul and man exist together and depend on one another. Look also at citation S5, "The radiant sun of virtue and truth coexists with being." (SH, p. 246:11-12) What is "virtue"? What qualities does that include? Can you draw a "sun" that includes those qualities in the rays? You can expand on each of those words, for example with qualities like integrity, honesty, purity, cheerfulness, helpfulness, unselfishness, and so on. Why are those two words connected with "being"? Are we really living/being/expressing if we are not expressing virtue and truth? These are things that come from Soul, the only source of true being or existence. Matter does not consistently contain these qualities.

Pycl #2: We get the chance to look at Jacob's ladder story through the lens of Soul this week. Read or tell it together. In what part of his life is this story set? Point out that he has just stolen Esau's birthright and is escaping to live with his uncle until Esau no longer wants to kill him! So, when he has this dream, he is on his way out of the land that God is promising him.

It is interesting to me that this part of the story is included in a lesson on Soul because Jacob is struggling with a false sense of self here. Ultimately, we know that he discovers a new and purer sense of self and even receives a new name or identity later in life! Soul is very much about our identity, so you can spend some time thinking about this false sense of identity that Jacob is entertaining in his life. But ultimately even here in this story, he is receiving God's messages of promise. So, we too can receive these messages at any time, because we are really always coexistent with Soul! How is that connection shown/illustrated in this story?

Have the children draw a ladder. Make it clear that once again this is a symbol. We are not going "up" to heaven! In fact, there are several references to this kingdom in this lesson if you want to talk about that! (Science & Health citation 11 (p. 590:1) and Matthew 18:1-4, are direct kingdom references and many citations refer to it more indirectly.)

Discuss a ladder as representing a connection to Soul/God, in the same way as the rays of the sun. Think about Mary Baker Eddy's definition of Angels, in which she declares that they are "God's thoughts passing to man." In this way they can think about how these thoughts appeared to Jacob. Could we name the rungs of the ladder with qualities that lead spiritually "higher"?

Pycl #3: Talk about gravitational pull if you have some space buffs in your class and look together at citation S9 on Science & Health, p. 265:5-15. Why does the moon stay revolving around the earth in a consistent way? Why does earth (and other planets) do the same around the sun? Think about this "pull", its power to hold these massive planets or moons in a path that is constant! Then, think about how this symbolizes the infinite and wonderful pull that Soul has on man! Ultimately, we all feel this pull towards the joy, peace, intelligence, satisfaction, that Soul has on us because it is natural, part of our nature. We can help this discovery along, speed our way toward happiness, digging into some of the ideas stated about "virtue and truth", but also ideas in this citation in S9 (above).

What are the "broader interpretations of being"? If we are thinking about outer space, that is one kind of "broader" and more "infinite"— ("…gain some proper sense of the infinite…"). But even space and the universe are ultimately material and limited. When we are willing to "forsake matter for Spirit" we are getting there! What does this mean? It means that step by step, maybe "ladder rung, by ladder rung" we are leaving limited definitions of self and identity behind. We are basing our sense of self on spiritual qualities only.

Pycl #4: The parable of the talents is one that you could spend the whole class time on if you wanted. There are so many ways that it ties into ideas about Soul, and themes in this Bible lesson. This can be found in Bible citation 10, Matthew 25:14 the, 15, 19-29. Share the story by reading it, finding it in another translation for further clarity, or retelling it. What are some of the lessons in it for each of us?

What is the symbolism (since we have talked about symbolism earlier!) of burying the "talent" (a kind of money) in the earth? Isn't that like taking a quality we are given by Soul and not expressing it—not demonstrating it as part of our identity? What happens to something when it is hidden in the ground (if it is not a seed!)? It rots—goes away—is hidden. In other words, you could say that if we don't practice something we tend to stop seeing it around us. This does not mean that we permanently lose such qualities in our experience.

You could point out that our friend Jacob learned that his happiness and success did not depend after all on deceit and trickery, but was his divine inheritance, having nothing to do with a "birthright". (Illustrated by the fact that his brother, from whom he stole, ended up plenty prosperous apparently, without resorting to that deceit!)

How do we "bury" our gifts that God/Soul has bestowed on us? Fear is one way, another might be laziness, looking for happiness in matter instead of Soul… Come up with some ideas. How do we "invest" our gifts rather than bury them? Look at your list of gifts that you have come up with together, and think of how you already practice or put in the work to demonstrate and share these gifts. Can you think of ways to do this more in your life? I love to think about the fact that "Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind…" (S12, .60:29-31).

Pycl #5: Why does Jesus tell us that we need to be like children to enter the kingdom of heaven?
You might like to try illustrating this by bringing something solid with a hole in it. This could even be a piece of cardboard, though something harder might be better. Bring a cotton ball, or something soft and malleable, and a rock that is bigger than the hole. Talk together about the qualities of being childlike: willingness to change, welcoming new things/change, flexibility, innocence, purity and so on. Then, show them that these qualities make us ready to hear and recognize good, evidence of Soul around us. We are willing to look past the scary evidence of matter, to not take its "threats" so seriously. This makes it so that we can walk right into the kingdom of heaven that is within all of us.

This could be symbolized by how a cotton ball is flexible and can be fit through a hole that might actually be smaller than the original ball. Then, it can be fluffed back up! While, when we try to fit a rock—representing hard-formed opinions, fears, beliefs that an adult might be tempted to hold onto—cannot get through that hole at all!

Think this through together to understand that we all have that childlikeness within and Jesus is calling on us to embrace that understanding of our identities rather than getting hardened in thought patterns that shut out our ability to feel that Soul-filled kingdom within!!!

Have a great Sunday School class!!

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