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[PYCL— Never start thinking that man is made of matter & avoid all sorts of trouble!]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for:

“Matter”
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for March 23, 2014

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com   (314) 406-0041
[with bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS Director]

[PYCL 1]  There is so much in this week's lesson about foundations. What are we building our lives on? How about breaking that down to something like, what is this day or this moment 'built on'. (You could even talk about how Sunday school is a kind of foundation for our week! And why.) Talk to the kids about buildings, foundations, structure. Feel free to bring in pictures of construction sites in various stages, especially foundations. You can even bring in the definition of Church and show how Mrs. Eddy uses 'structure'. Is she talking about cement and steel? Is there somewhere in the lesson that does talk about 'cement'? Maybe send the kids in that direction. Section three can be talked about in broad terms of purity and chastity without getting into any 'nitty gritty'. Purity of thought is a vital, life giving quality. It enables us to see/understand God's presence among us! What kind of cement is that? The last section contains some pretty cool references to building that can be brought into play as well.

 

[PYCL 2]  Can the kids think of why understanding foundations, structure, strength, etc. is important in a lesson about matter? How is matter usually regarded? Don't we normally think in terms of matter as the basis of all life and formation, all construction, etc.? But if matter is a construct of human thought, then it, and all the “laws” surrounding it, are not really as solid as we think. This relates back to our lesson on Substance of last week. Can they find a story in this week's lesson where the laws of matter didn't apply? They may have several examples, as there are several! Or maybe they will all gravitate toward the story of Jesus walking on the water. Talk about the laws of physics that that would break. Do those same laws apply to Eutychus? How about the laws that say there is no possible way that a man who has never walked can jump up and stand, leap etc.? There are laws of matter that say there would be no muscle or sinew developed enough to do such activities. But that didn't stop Peter and John.

 

[PYCL 3]  Once you've covered the ideas of foundations, structure etc. in whatever depth or direction is appropriate for your age group, you can bust out the construction materials. Try a mixture of materials such as small paper cups, straws, paper, tape, foil. Or keep it simple with wooden building blocks. What makes a great foundation that holds up a good strong tower? What makes a weak one? Try purposefully building a tower with a bad foundation and watch how quickly it tumbles. How does our understanding of God, Her power, goodness, presence, create a strong foundation for us each day. What happens when we don't really feel God's presence? What makes us feel unsure, fearful, etc.? Isn't that when we think that matter is in control?

 

[PYCL 4]  You could also be ambitious and pick up some play sand and large plastic tub and some water and watch how easily sand erodes when you pour water in. What happens to a rock if you pour water on that? Is that what the Bible is talking about in B13? Ask if anyone has been to the ocean and stood in the sand by the surf and felt how the water erodes the sand around their feet. That's how impurity, dishonesty, unkindness, impatience, etc. erodes our joy and power to do good for those around us and for ourselves. Ask them if they know what cement is. Why is purity like cement in our society, in our lives with others? Does it hold us together in unity? Think about the impure qualities listed above, do they lead to unity and love, or disparity, war, fighting etc.?

 

[PYCL 5]  You can merge this talk of building and cement and society into the story of Babel in section 2. This is a story of how God doesn't support that which is built on mortal knowledge. Mortal knowledge (if not put in its proper perspective), leads to confusion and to discord among man. Knowledge based on our understanding of a spiritual unified source of good draws us together in the same way that the spokes of a wheel lead to the hub. In fact you could bring in a bike wheel and talk about its structure and strength that arise from the central connection to the hub–that individually, the spokes would be pretty flimsy, but together, and attached to the hub they are strong and support the many uses that wheels bring to human life. For some reason I feel the need to point out that this story of Babel illustrates how matter is “self-destroying” (S6). That God didn't come down like some big important “super human”, and decide to make life tough for those people. It was their own sense of confusion based on material knowledge that stopped their project in its tracks. The story is described in this way because this was how the writer interpreted it.

 

[PYCL 6]  It's interesting to note that matter can seem really fancy, complex, impressive. Look in the R.R where it says: “Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.” That sounds to me like it might seem beautiful, dazzling even, with silver and gold on it, but it's still just dead matter, no breath, no ability to bring us closer to the reality and power of God. You could bring in some costume jewelry for the little kids to explain that it might look fancy and big and shiny, but it's really just worthless.

 

[PYCL 7]  You could have fun with S3 where is speaks of matter being an error of statement. Can you come up with some false premises that the kids would understand, and talk about the silly things they would lead to? An old example: the earth was thought to be flat for some time. What would happen, and what were early explorers terrified would happen? Can the kids imagine being worried about sailing off the edge of the world? This falls more under the category of optical illusion, but you could bring in a picture of railroad tracks disappearing into the distance and “meeting” at some point. What would happen if what it looks like was true, really was true? Have them think about a train…. would the wheels get skinnier and follow the track? You may be able to think of some ideas that are “closer to home” as they say. But the point is, that if we start with thinking that man is made of matter, we really run into all sorts of trouble because matter is so flawed that it leads to sickness, sadness, and confusion of all kinds.

Have fun with this lesson!

 

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