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[PYCL: Play Heavenly Hopscotch! Make ideas memorable and applicable! (#1B)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

“Probation after Death”
on October 23, 2016

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

Pycl #1: As always, you should probably give a child-friendly definition of this subject. You can't read this week's lesson without noticing that there is a path to be followed to find our way out of this material sense of existence in matter and into a true sense of being as spiritual. We have laid the groundwork in the recent lessons of the past about reality and unreality and the unreality of sin, etc. So now we can walk this path with greater confidence and find, as we go, ways to drop the material limits and find our progress spirit-ward less hindered. There are many ways that you can choose to illustrate this idea of progress through "paths".

Pycl #1A: You could design a game-board with different steps along the way. Each step could be labeled with a spiritual quality that you and your class decide is something that they would like to develop more in their life (progress!). Make sure you discuss the idea that progress means to move forward in a good way. Not every space needs to have a quality. You can use dice to decide how many places to move. You could have the path evolve according to the quality that each player makes up as he/she rolls the dice, or the whole board can be set ahead. I like the idea of having the "fruit" (S28) along the way that you get as you make progress across the board. What would those fruits be? For example: the fruit of unselfishness might be joy, satisfaction, peace, friendship, and so on. You could have the fruit be represented by small pieces of candy, or drawings, or words like the ones listed. Maybe there would be a "fountain" that is along the board path that is full of such "fruit". You can all expand on this in any way that seems productive. While it is helpful to have some kind of firm concept of what the board should include, that won't limit any fresh inspiration that comes up in the class. The children could draw a tree to climb, or a steep hill, to get some quality that might seem to be hard to reach for one or another of them. There is lots of room to discuss how our Father-Mother is leading us in this path as well.

Pycl #1B: [Play Heavenly Hopscotch!] If your pupils are more prone to physical activity I was thinking that a game of hopscotch would be another way to illustrate this path. Each square can have such qualities that represent spiritual progress. You toss out a bean bag or stone into a square, in order, and you say aloud what quality you are demonstrating in your life as you hop down and back each square has a quality. You can alter the rules of the game to suit your class. Here is a link to a picture of a traditional hopscotch court and the rules (the modern one that most might be familiar with is in the photo at the top, not the complex drawings farther down the page!) You could extend or change the course, use string to outline it if outdoors is not an option. If you wish, you could make each square one of the qualities listed in citation S26: unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love,…the kingdom of heaven. Again, you could have some of those "fruits" on the side to gather as they progress. It's not about making the course tricky, but about giving the children a way to make these ideas memorable, and applicable.

Pycl #2: Looking at the story of Enoch, we have an example of how someone just progressed to the point where he had dropped all sense of himself as material. His physical body disappeared into the nothingness that it is. Most of us need to walk, as Enoch surely did, through those years of progress to reach that mental state of readiness. Maybe we won't need to walk it for 365 years, but who knows!? The important thing I see here is that eternal, spiritual life is not, never ever was, life in matter getting better and better. We don't achieve spiritual progress by accruing better material circumstances. In fact, it seems like, often, the more comfortable and happy we are in matter, the less we progress spiritually! This is why Mrs. Eddy points out so strongly in her writings that progression and probation are constant. They do not hinge on our existence in physique, or a change in that existence. Spiritual progress does not depend on matter—except in that we must drop our sense of dependence on matter for our being (S4).

Pycl #3: Bring a compass (drawing or drafting one, available at WalMart in school supplies) to let the children draw a perfect circle with that perfect center. Visit together over citation S2, especially the part about how God is at the center of our being and is also the circumference. Those are great words and that's a great visual image to convey that thought. A circle, you can share, represents completeness. Why? Can you add to it? Does it end? Doesn't the center seem like a safe place if God is all the way around it too?

Pycl #4: I don't always mention each story in the lesson, but one of the richest things I have gained from going to Sunday School is a background of abundant stories from the Bible. So you can assume that stories are always the way to go. In Section 2 this week we have Peter both identifying Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, and also being rebuked for refusing to accept that Jesus was also going to suffer the horror of the crucifixion. I wonder if this is too sophisticated for young kids? But I liked thinking of this in terms of our need to recognize the Christ, the active healing presence of God in our lives, but not making it into a kind of "gospel of comfort in matter". We might be tempted to ask the question: "If I'm walking in that path, being kind generous, good, hard working, reading my lesson… then why do I still have this problem?" That might be what Peter was partly being rebuked for. Jesus had to show mankind that death is not final, that progress continues, that God did not put life into matter to be destroyed in any way, violent, unfair, untimely, or even in a "timely" way. Giving up a sense of satisfaction in matter is the path that we are to follow (S11 and S12).

Pycl #5: I guess you might think of summing up this subject as "what is the goal of life?" Paul tells us in the last part of citation B10: "…this corruptible (material) must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." We should walk the path that leads to that goal. So your board game or hopscotch course could have that be the "destination" in either case!

Have a fun Sunday School class!

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