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[PYCL: Lift the weight of “matter-based reality” from the world, one person at a time!]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:
Matter
for Sunday, March 22, 2015

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

This lesson subject again reaches to the heart of Christian Science: matter is not real, Spirit, God is the only real. As we gently and persistently work this idea into our students' thought each week, we are lifting the weight of “matter-based reality” from the world, one person at a time.

Pycl #1: There are any number of analogies to choose from to illustrate how certain material things seem real but are not. We can agree that matter can seem to be “tricky”, but that we prove that it is not powerful through spiritual healing. Find an illusion that you think might be helpful to your particular class and bring an illustration of this. You could choose the way that railroad tracks appear to come together in the distance, the world seems “flat”, “puddles” appear in the road on a hot summer’s day, and disappear when we get close to them, I’m sure you can think of others. You can talk about the fact that no matter what it looks like, those tracks never really touch. Interestingly, in this case, this is a quality of perspective. The use of that word is key. If you drew those tracks exactly the same distance apart when drawing a scene, it would be a “bird’s eye view”, but you wouldn’t be looking into the distance. When we understand perspective, we know that a tree that appears to be tiny in the distance, is not actually small… In the same way, we can think of spiritual understanding as the ability to see the truth, even when the material picture might present the complete opposite, or something wholly different. As always, try to have an example of Christian Science healing that illustrates this point. In this week’s lesson you sure have plenty to choose from, or have an example of your own, or, even better, both!

Pycl #2: I would enjoy going through all those stories of Elisha that are included in this week’s lesson. Certainly this is only one aspect of these stories, but in light of this week’s lesson it might be interesting to note how they each deal with a claim of the stultifying “power” of matter, the ability of matter to keep things from being fully productive, wholly good. In the first story we have the city on barren ground. Elisha transforms this ground by symbolically sprinkling salt (more on this later), which, is ironic, since salt generally creates barren soil, so clearly it is not the salt itself that brings purity and fertility to the soil! In the second story we have the wonderful woman of Shunem whose deep faith and love for God have brought her a son, when she had been unable to conceive. Here she would appear to have been deprived of the God-given gift, the son, that in those days often represented an important type of productivity in that he would have helped his father in the farm work and inherited the farm at some point. Next we have the story of Naaman who was respected, powerful and seemingly quite productive in his field, yet all this was limited by his having the dreaded disease of leprosy—a great example of matter seemingly taking the reins in his otherwise successful life. And finally, we have the story of the men going to establish a new area to live in and an ax head getting lost in the river. Elisha defies the laws of matter by causing the borrowed ax head to float up in the water for retrieval. (You could talk about the way that matter can seem to hide our good and productive ideas in the “murky depths” of its confusing arguments). Obviously the loss of the ax head symbolizes that stifling of productive and powerful activity of Spirit. Yet there are no barriers to God—Good. If any of the kids know these stories, have them retell them, and ask them to help uncover what they have to do with this week’s lesson subject.

Pycl #3: Check out what Kathy has to say about salt in this week’s CedarS Met. Bring in salt shaker (for younger classes) and talk about the symbolism in the Sermon on the Mount of the salt not losing it “savor” or flavor. What does that mean? You could have the kids try a piece of cucumber or something that tastes a little plain without salt, and then have a taste with salt (hard boiled eggs, though that can be messy…) Or, maybe something more appealing like salted and unsalted potato chips or saltine crackers vs. ones that are without salt (believe it or not, there are salt-free “saltine” crackers). It quickly will become clear that one type is much “tastier” than the other. Can we make Jesus’ point clear through these analogies? How can our lives illustrate better the way that a spiritual perspective on things makes all our activities and interactions more “flavorful” more intense (in a good way), more satisfying and vivid and powerful?

Pycl #4: What constitutes a “law”? Talk about laws, ask them for examples. Can laws be broken? If something is according to God’s law, what does that mean for us? What about matter’s “laws”? Can material law be a reflection of a divine law? (S10) — In what way? For example, a traffic law might represent the order of divine Principle, it also might express Mind and Love! Can they think of ways that the stories in this week’s lesson express divine law (especially in contradiction to material law)? Can you share some healings that illustrate God’s laws in action? If the kids are older they may enjoy the pamphlet “God’s Law of Adjustment” when talking about His laws and how “All things are possible…” to God.

Pycl #5: You can take any one of the stories individually and work with it in light of this week’s subject. One example might be to take the story of the Shunamite woman. I love that she almost literally went straight to God for the true verdict about her son who appeared to have died. (Not that Elisha was God, but she knew that his spiritual insight would testify more truthfully than her material sense). She looked to that spiritual sense of things, even when matter seemed to “scream” that all hope was lost! How can we have this same persistence in our own life when we see things that don’t match up with spiritual reality? If she had stayed there and just stared at her son on his bed would she have come any closer to the reality of his condition? Shouldn’t we rather “travel” that road, search deeply for the spiritual truth of any circumstance, grab it humbly “by the feet”, and not let go until we are personally “visited” by that holy inspiration that heals and makes matter melt into nothingness? [Like the Shunamite, we can sing and say all the way “All, all is well!” (Hymn 350)]

Have a great week in Sunday School!!

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