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[PYCL—Put in your own words all the twists and turns of the Adam & Eve story. ]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for:

Adam and Fallen Man
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for May 11, 2014

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

[PYCL 1]
Beguile, subtlety, deception, corrupted, simplicity—these are all words that could be defined together before diving into this lesson. With the littler kids you can put these definitions into your own words and maybe just choose three. Tell the Bible story here in your own words and talk about the twists and turns it takes. What does a snake look like? How does it get around? Why is it a good symbol for the “twists and turns” of mortal thought, that tricks us into believing its suggestions of lack, sickness, sadness, anger and so on? Is the “serpent” or error thought something standing in front of us, trying to trick us? No! If it did that it would be much easier to notice and refuse! Instead, it is a suggestion that “parades” as our own thought (Responsive Reading: “Let no man deceive himself.”).

[PYCL 2]
How, with what senses, do we take in whatever is going on around us? Do we look with whatever the eyes see—ears hear—body feels, to determine our situation? Eve decided that the apple was “pleasant to the eyes”, can we go further? Is there a more accurate, more complete picture that we can perceive if we take our questions to God? Do you know the story of the blind men and the elephant? You can find many versions, but the gist of it is the same. Each man gets to feel a different part of the big animal. One touches the ear, one the tail and so on. They each describe the elephant according to the limited “view” they have of this big animal. In the end they argue with one another based on their limited understanding of what they have perceived of the elephant. Aren't we a little like those blind men when we try to understand God's creation with only a little mortal information about man that is based almost entirely on material sense testimony? (S5 “Erroneous standpoint” marginal heading) You can bring Jesus into the discussion here. What did he reveal to us about God's and man's nature? How did he reveal this? See how it is summed up—elephant story and all, in citation S1: “The eternal Truth destroys what mortals seem to have learned from error, and man's real existence as a child of God comes to light.” You can try your own “elephant” exercise by bringing something in a big bag. Have each child touch only one, and each a different part, of the thing you've brought in and try to describe what it is based on their touch. Then discuss. Can we get a true idea of ourselves by a limited view of ourselves as what we “see” or “feel”?

[PYCL 3]
I also liked that this lesson includes citation B2: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked:” What does “mocked” mean here? Isn't this like saying that God's own creation doesn't contradict or disobey Him? How could he make a man that then goes off and does things that do not reflect His perfection, grace, love, etc.? Why would God stand by and watch that kind of thing? Doesn't this sound like the sort of struggles we have as parents while raising our children. Doesn't it sound like a story that man would make up to explain our own parental challenges when our children “mock” us? Are we trying to make God understandable or relevant to our lives by making Him more “like us”? (Like mortals).

[PYCL 4]
I love the illustration in citation B5 of the breakdown in communication. The serpent said this, the woman said that, the man said… Now communication between the sexes etc. is forever complicated and misunderstood and filled with hurt and anger. Now we have cause for war and disagreement. All because we have decided that the intercommunication is from man to man, or from man to God (pleading), not from God to man, as Mrs. Eddy declares! (S&H p.284:31-32). There are no mistakes, no misunderstandings, no deceit, in this kind of intercommunication!

[PYCL 5]
Think together about the part in the allegory where Adam is condemned to “till the soil”. Mrs. Eddy tells us (S8) that this condemnation represents the need to improve material belief. Talk about what it means to “till” soil. What does tilling do? Can you show this with some packed dirt or sand, or with pictures of machinery tilling ground? What is this process doing? There are so many things that you can discuss and so many spiritual things that tilling represents. There is the idea of overturning thought, of lightening material belief (adding “air”, which might be thought of as Spirit or inspiration), of tearing out the weeds and preparing our thought to receive the “good seed”, God's word. Anyway, you get the idea here! All this “tilling” leads our thought away from matter by gradually lifting it up and out of material belief (S11).

[PYCL 6]
In citation B10 we notice that the “carnal mind…is not subject to the law of God…”. It made me think about how we sometimes try to “make ourselves be obedient”. Maybe that's not the right approach. Matter doesn't obey Spirit. Adam and Eve, a material view of man, didn't obey God. But man, made in God's likeness, has no choice, He/she is reflection! I know that it seems like we do all kinds of things, every day, that don't reflect God, but our divine nature is still the only true one. So then the discussion has to turn to how we can spend more time experiencing this reflected life, rather than a sense of life that is disconnected with God. You could bring the “thought models” of citation S14 into the picture here. How do we continually nurture these good thought models?

[PYCL 7]
Discuss “knowledge” vs. spiritual understanding. Are we talking about the blind men and the elephant again? Isn't this how knowledge works? It gives us an explanation based on the limitations of material sense. But spiritual sense, (which must be cultivated), has a complete, harmonious, accurate view of reality. We know this why? Healing of course. Healing flies in the face of material “law”/ knowledge. Give personal examples.

[PYCL 8]
Maybe with the younger kids you could do some sort of silly upright vs. fallen activity. You can talk about the meaning of “fallen man”. What does being “upright” symbolize? You can do some active work with this and talk about what you can see “on the ground” and how the view is from standing. Talk about these ideas together and see what they come up with!

Have a great Sunday!

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