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PYCL: Learn to stay awake, alert, enthusiastic!
Possible Younger Class Lesson Ideas for Sunday School on the Christian Science Bible Lesson:

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced”
For May 31, 2020

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO • 314-406-0041

Pycl #1: See Tower of Babel applications by doing a little building project! (Watch John Biggs, CS video)
Read the story about the tower of Babel in Section 2 (Bible citation #4, Genesis 11:1, 4–9 (to ;). Consider asking these questions: What is it about? Does God intervene in "human affairs" and stop us from doing things for one reason or another? Does it matter why we want to do things? What does it mean to be "self-destroying"? Why does self-serving activity lead to "confusion"? Is it because God punishes us and "mixes us up" when we are doing wrong? (No, by the way.) Think together in terms of what divine law upholds and supports.

You might also think about a helium balloon. If you fill a balloon with helium or with hot air, it will rise. You cannot keep it from rising, that is just what helium and hot air do because they are lighter than air. When we do things that are not in accord with the laws of divine Life/Love/Mind, they are going to ultimately fail because they are unsupported. They might seem like they are succeeding temporarily, just like building the tower of Babel was working at first. But ultimately, activities not based on divine laws are doomed because they don’t have a good foundation. You can’t build on a shaky foundation.

If your Sunday School class is together in a group you could do a little building project and talk about foundations. What does a good foundation look like? Will it be made of a sturdy material like the rock mentioned in citation B5 (Ps. 71:3)? Look up the definition of "rock" in the Glossary of Science and Health. What does this represent in our day-to-day lives? Maybe we can think of a “rock” being like a few minutes of silence a few times a day just to be sure we are open to hearing what God is telling us.

Pycl #2: Pay attention to what tries to influence our thoughts….
What is influencing you? Do we notice when we are being influenced by peer pressure, people around us, thought around us? Right now, we can all be alert to guard ourselves from fear concerning the pandemic. (This ties in to the ideas of having our few minutes of silence throughout our day to tune in to divine Love)

Our safety comes from obeying laws of Love (which, in some cases might mean following state laws about masks and hand-washing, etc. to make others around us feel safer), but these divine laws don't include illness, contagion, fearful thought. So, how do we silence and eradicate those thoughts? We silence fearful thoughts by daily listening and obeying the laws of Love.

What are the laws of Love? They are laws that uphold Life and Mind. They are activities that reflect the kindness of helping others, helping people not be afraid, expressing generosity, joy, intentional listening for divine ideas. It isn't that hard to discern what is from God versus what is "hypnotic" or "mesmeric". It is more a matter of being alert than of working really hard to know what is right!

One example of being influenced falsely that might be meaningful… If a pupil has a sibling…. have they ever felt angry by something the sibling did to them? Probably! If not, use a friend or parent, or whoever may be useful for the example here. If we respond with anger, hurt, frustration, wanting revenge, we can be sure we are being influenced by something other than God.

If we allow people to irritate and upset us, we are listening to the mesmeric pull of the belief that there are personalities that are separate from God. A personality, as we have mentioned before, is a mask, a persona. It is not someone's true identity. We are not asked to love the mask, but we do need to recognize that it is separate from a person—an idea of Love.

You can do a simple mask exercise with a paper plate mask to indicate how a mean or angry mask cannot influence us or fool us into being that way ourselves–(or seeing someone else in that way). We can just remove mask…it doesn’t need to influence us!

Pycl #3: Two memoizable citations about protecting our thinking
This Bible Lesson contains a few passages that help us to understand how to go about protecting our consciousness from being fooled into being influenced falsely. One is citation 24 in Science and Health that speaks of extracting error by pouring in truth "through flood-tides of Love". Another one is citation 25 from Science and Health: "Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you."

These two citations might be worth memorizing if your students are not too young. Both can be acted out in class. The first by putting some dirt in a cup and pouring water in quickly until all the dirt comes spilling out and the cup has clean water in it. This is a wonderful way to illustrate how Love washes out the lie of error, whether it be hatred, fear, anger, self-righteousness, etc. We don't have to focus on the removal process as much as on the "replacement" process, that is the fresh water, or flood-tides of Love! This Love can be expressed as gratitude!

The second passage about being clad in the panoply of Love has big words, and little children may learn these words more easily by dressing up as you talk about/after you talk about what "clad" and "panoply" mean. Perhaps they could wrap themselves in a towel or a blanket to show what it means to be “clad” in something that surrounds us. How do we put on this complete protective covering, like a blanket or even a “suit of armor” made of Love? What would that armor/protection look like? Can we see it? Draw it? How might it work? Can you think of how being a peacemaker (from the Beatitudes) might make us aware of our inherent safety from all that would try to harm us?

Pycl #4: Nothing can separate us from God’s love (says Paul…and he proves it)
One question that might be helpful to ponder: Why do we ever respond to someone in a grumpy, ill-natured fashion? Why do we seem to get angry sometimes? What is it that "influences" us to become angry? It can be helpful to delve into the why's of these things in order to point out that we—our real and loving selves—are not behind these feelings.

It may seem as if we are responding to something that is someone else's "fault". But are we really victims of others' wrongdoing? Citation 26 in Science & Health talks about the "mistaken or wicked purpose". Our hurt/anger/etc. isn’t from a place that will help us solve the problem that we’re facing. While it may be unrealistic to think that we’ll never again suffer from such feelings, it is so productive to be able to label them for what they are—suppositions of God's absence of control, government & love.

Paul tells us in this week's lesson that we can never be separated from Love (B23). Maybe you can discuss this citation 23 in the Bible and think together about the challenges that Paul faced. His life was challenging. Do you think it might have seemed like he was never separated from Love? Paul experienced many healings in which he proved that he could not be separated from God’s care. He experienced a shipwreck, and then a venomous snake bite, but in both cases, he was safe and these were opportunities to bless others and reveal God's power and presence.

Can you find current-day experiences of God’s protection and ways that we feel God’s love even during hardship? Maybe our examples won't be as dramatic as Paul's, but I'll bet there are some to share.

Pycl #5: What does the subject of the Bible Lesson mean?
You will probably want to address the lengthy subject of this week's lesson. What do these words mean to us today? “Necromancy,” in particular, needs an updated view. I find it most helpful to think of “necromancy” in terms of looking to the past for solutions to present problems, or looking to the past for answers, rather than listening to God's voice to us in our daily lives. All healing comes through revelation, which means something new being revealed, or seen in a fresh light!

Find (and maybe even write down) ways that we seem to be influenced by the “three evils” mentioned in the lesson subject’s title.
Where do we see “mesmerism”? (television ads? Or addictive apps?)
Where do we see “hypnotism?” (going through the motions? Accepting negative thoughts that aren’t our thoughts?)
Where do we see “necromancy”? (perhaps as we focus on our past mistakes and become fearful to try something new)

Have some possible examples at the ready to get the discussion going. Then, think together as a class about ways to eliminate those problems, find stories and passages that deal with the antidote to these evils in this week's lesson! Stay awake and alert…with joy!

Have a great week in Sunday School!!

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