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[PYCL: Lean on God to be preserved by sealing out impurity, whining, moping… (1, 3)]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for:

God the Preserver of Man”
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for December 15, 2013

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

[PYCL 1: Exemplify preservation with preserves that have killed off & sealed out impurity.]
Make sure you talk about what “preserve” means.  You can bring a jar of something that is preserved, jam, tomato sauce, etc. to give them a visual image of “preservation”.  What does it mean that God “preserves” man?  You certainly can “take off” from the can or jar of food that is preserved, by talking about how it is a process that heats the food and kills off any bacteria (micro-organisms), and then seals out any air that could provide a place for those organisms to live, thus keeping the food “pure” and helpful, and safe to eat.  This gives us an analogy for God keeping man a pure, whole, complete, good, harmonious, idea—there is no room for anything else to grow within this man.  Love keeps us in this state of goodness and wholeness, and only a complicated, mortal view of man as matter, obscures this view of reality from our sight.

[PYCL 2: Talk about the functions of feathers & of angels so they’re ready to receive them!]
This is a wonderful time to talk about angels. The Responsive Reading and the first and second sections contain references to angels. Consider having the kids draw what they think an angel looks like.  Most will probably draw a human figure with wings.  Then you can talk about how Mrs. Eddy defines them.  Why do you think people invented angels to have wings?  Why does citation B2 include a reference to being under God's “feathers” and “wings”?  There is a reason why we think in these terms, even if angels are “God's thoughts”.  Talk about it!  Do any of them know how feathers function?  Some feathers are for keeping the bird warm… talk about down comforters and how the down works on the bird.  Some feathers protect the bird.  Water birds swim and never get wet, even in the winter the downy feathers keep them warm from near frozen water, while the outer feathers keep all the water out.  Also, mother birds (sometimes father birds), keep their babies warm and safe under their wings.  These images can really help to give the kids ways to understand God better.  Are feathers soft?  Comforting?  Warm?  Beautiful? Etc.  Then we have the feathers that are designed for flight, don't forget those!  These feathers can powerfully lift a bird high into the sky.  And you can go from there to how angel thoughts lift us up higher in our inspiration and understanding.  Talk about the angels at Jesus' birth if you wish to connect further to the Christmas story too.  Do you have any “angel” stories to share?  These don't have to be amazing and “supernatural”.  If angels are God's thoughts, then I had one such angel thought last week that only involved listening long enough to quietly affirm that I have divine “self” control.  I made several batches of cookies with my boys and a neighbor, and didn't eat any dough, or any of the cookies—a real feat for me.  But as silly as that sounds, and maybe not all that relevant in that form for the kids, I was so full of joy that night when I was hungry for a normal dinner and not regretting eating inappropriately.  Also, because it was an angel-inspired message, I had a great time making the cookies and didn't feel like I was missing out on anything while others were tasting and I wasn't!  For kids you could talk about what that challenge would be for them.  Might it involve going into a store and not once asking mom or dad to buy something?  Maybe it would be a heroic effort to share a toy that you really wanted for your own, or not getting mad at a friend who knocked down a block building.  At the end of class I might give each child a Christmas cookie cut in the shape of an angel, to send them home with after class.  It might give them an extra push to be ready for those angel thoughts in the coming week!  Or… it's just nice to get a cookie!

[PYCL 3: Lean on God to preserve strength & flexibility—heal whining!  Prevent moping when plans change.]
Look at citation S6 [“To those leaning…”] which is so easy to memorize and talk about what that message means. Sustaining is a lot like preserving. What does it mean to “lean on the sustaining infinite”.  Who is that?  Stand up and have someone lean on you.  Now move over suddenly so they momentarily lose their balance.  Talk about what we “lean” on and depend on.  Often the answer might be our parents or friends at this age.  What happens when our parents have a “bad day”?  How can we really “lean” on God?  What does that mean practically?  If we really shift our thought so we are constantly thinking about what makes us happy and trying to lift it up to something spiritual, then we won't find ourselves often disappointed by changes in plans.  For example, last week, our youngest had a fun engagement after Sunday School.  We had told the other two awhile ago that we'd go goof off with them at the mall or something on that afternoon.  But some plans changed and we couldn't do that and had to go home for the afternoon.  The other two were so disappointed that they just moped around for quite a time.  Maybe not much of an example, but really this is the perfect way that children can start to apply this kind of thinking for themselves.  What if Christmas isn't all they'd hoped for?  Why would that maybe happen?  Wouldn't it be because of material, rather than spiritual expectations?  This discussion could give the kids a basis for a daily prayer of this passage, to always have spiritually-motivated expectations for their day.  What if leaning on God leads us to listen for how we can be more helpful at home or with a friend?  Would we be happier at the end of the day?  What if being spiritually-motivated caused us not to whine when we are getting to our jobs, homework, etc.?  You get the idea!  At the end of the day, we feel a sense of joy and peace from having “leaned” on God rather than our own will for our decisions and activities.

[PYCL 4: Tell in your own words about how Hagar & all outcasts can daily find “wells”.]
I would share the story of Abraham and Hagar and Ishmael.  As I mentioned in the CedarS metaphysical, I was taken by the idea that really this story is about the symbolic expansive sense of God's family, rather than merely a provision for the cast-off son.  It is the complicated mortal view that gets us to believe that it's natural for kids to squabble, for families to be broken, for war to ensue.  This is the complex view also of physical well-being.  That we are complicated matter “machines” that get broken, diseased and die.  The spiritual view of all of the above involves completeness, wholeness and the purity that does not admit of any complex, impure element that is without God/Good.  Tell this story in your own words.  Talk about the well.  Was it there all along?  Did Hagar see it right away?  “Who” showed it to her?  Is this sometimes how we feel?  Like there is nothing good out there for us, we are abandoned and alone and “cast out”?  What “well” is right in front of us, preserving us at all times, even when we can't see it?  Is this like that statement in Science and Health that is on many church walls? (Citation S24—“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”)  How can we look for and notice these “wells” on a daily basis?  Talk about a time where this happened for you!

[PYCL 5: Share the love that is Love, automatically forgiving… and does not get offended!]
Talk about how the right kind of love preserves us. The love that is Love without a separate, mortal sense of self does not get offended.  This is the love that Jesus was talking about in section 4 when he tells Peter to forgive “until seventy times seven”.  He's saying there is no need to forgive if you are keeping your thought so close to God/Love that you don't see a personal self to be offended or wronged.

There are so many child-friendly ideas to share in this lesson, have a great time with Sunday School, this week and every week!



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