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[PYCL: Make better whatever seems bitter and disappointing. Let spiritual sense show you that matter doesn’t control you! (1) Show how it’s like a house of cards! (5)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Substance
for March 15, 2020

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

Pycl #1: This is our opportunity to share ideas about how God's laws are the only laws of substance. We can think about how whether we are sick, hurt, scared, bullied, sad—there is a law of God that is operating to annihilate the results of any of these things. It speaks to us through the Christ. You can share personal examples of this and also examples from our periodicals or from Jesus' or Paul's healing work in this week's lesson. Also sharing the thought that bad things do seem like they happen, Christian Science and the understanding we get from it about man and God, help us alter the results from these "bad things". We learn to understand from a different vantage point, one that is spiritual, that matter doesn't control us.

Consider looking at the Responsive Reading and at the story of Moses in the wilderness turning the bitter water "sweet". These are two examples of God's governing of the substance of our human experience, right here, as we understand things. Not in some future time or place.

The Responsive Reading speaks of the wicked rulers that God's law overcomes, that "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree:" Ask your class about thorns and briers—are they useful (unless they make berries:-)? But, a fir tree is wonderfully useful and the myrtle tree is symbolic in the Bible because it is a fragrant shrub that grows near water (in a desert land!)—it is a symbol of recovery and the establishment of God's promises [of good].

Then, in citation B6 of Section 3 (Exodus 15:22-25), we have the "bitter" water—like the thorn it seems useless, and unfulfilling in its promise to quench thirst. But, Moses changes that by throwing a branch in the water, making the bitter, or brackish water sweet/fresh! [Warren: Find your “branch” to fulfill God’s promise that “all things work together for good…” – to make better whatever seems bitter and disappointing. (Romans 8:28) Consider crying out to God as Moses did to heal each disappointment and sweeten it with an evergreen application and fresh, spiritual-sense amplification of this priceless promise: “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” (Romans 8:28, Amplified Version)—“Spirit, the great Architect,” (SH 68) with His Ten Commandment “Specs” or divine specifications has only plans of good for you!]

Consider discussing the symbolism of this "bitterness"—are we disappointed with how things are going? Are we bitter about what we have to do today? How can our understanding of substance today help us make what we are doing "sweet"? What is really happening in this story? Did throwing in the tree or stick change the water? Did Moses perform a spiritual "trick"? Think about this together. What law of God would be in operation to deprive us of water when we need it? No law of God would do that!! Moses was acting on the faith that God only provides abundant good for His children; this resulted in the substance of good appearing in a useful form for the children of Israel.

[W: We already have a fully developed antidote—a free vaccination that is always angelically available—not only to antidote the coronavirus but also to “cure, answer or remedy” every other pandemic or “mental miasma!” See more in my “Bonus GEM of the Day.”]

Pycl #2: What is substance (may want to start here!). Our first section offers some answers here—"…good and eternal" are two qualities that describe something substantial in citation S4. Bring some items to share. Think together about what is "substantial" about each object (if anything). You might choose a rock, a glass of water, a plastic toy… It might be interesting to see if they think the plastic toy, for example has substance as an idea that might bring joy, creativity, or something like that?! Is there substance behind everything we see?????

Pycl #3: There are several references in this lesson on substance to "faith", as a quality necessary to seeing spiritual substance. What is faith? How is it different from belief? Look at Section 2 for some answers. Bring in a video or pictures of a chrysalis. Talk about how they work, if you know. If you don't know, look it up—it is fascinating.

I always pictured the caterpillar kind of gradually morphing into a butterfly. But no! The caterpillar liquifies and reforms into the moth or butterfly! All the information is within the chrysalis to inform this transformation! Might give us a fresh perspective on the final citation S31 where Mary Baker Eddy says: "Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy." (The rest of the passage is great too:-) How can an understanding of our spiritual substance help us to welcome "newness" in our lives, fresh perspectives on God, man, reality?

Pycl #4: Section 4 is one of the most beautifully constructed sections I have ever read in a Bible lesson, but I don't think I know how I'd share this with the younger children. You could certainly speak to children about it, but I'd say not to the youngest classes???? I might put it in terms of bullying? If you choose to talk about the idea you could retell the story in those terms, and then discuss how innocence is not powerless, rather it can "slay the wolf", (S16).

This is very relevant to children, who often feel they are weaker, without a voice, and vulnerable, even if they are not able to verbalize this. Talk about how these ideas are practical, in what ways?

Look at the story of the woman from Revelation. I love that she is a power herself, and yet is chased by something with "more crowns, more heads", seemingly "more" power! But the "earth" helps her. What does that mean? Maybe it can be thought of as representing the idea that we can get practical, healing help and ideas right where we are, just as we need them. (fresh water in the desert!)

God's laws are in operation to reveal this angel message in the midst of what our "…suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive". What is an "angel unawares"? Can you share an example? Can we all expect to receive such a message from God to aid in a situation where we feel victimized–without defense?

Pycl #5: In Section 6 we have a story that seems to involve lies and again, the sense of being taken advantage of, or victimized. How can we defend ourselves? Looking at citation S29 we have a sort of allegory/story. This is how material sense "talks to us". It tries to be convincing! It says things like: "ouch that hurts!", "so and so is soooo mean!"…and that voice provides its own evidence that is not from divine Love to back its claims! It does this by claiming that it is "secret, sneaky, hard to catch, hard to get rid of".

But it is divine law, Love, that not only rescues us but destroys the lie. Think about it like a house of cards. Try making one. How easy is it to knock over? All you have to do is blow on it! That is how "powerful" a lie is! It can be "blown away"!!! You can practice this, maybe by just a gentle bump? This is a good way to show that such lies are without substance, if they can get knocked over by a little breath, they are sure not from God!!

Have a great week in Sunday School!!

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