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[PYCL: Put meaningful Biblical symbols into actions of love-Love.]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:


Sunday, January 11, 2015

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

 [PYCL 1]
This week’s adventure is all about putting meaningful Biblical symbols into actions of love/Love.  Talk about what symbols are.  Bring in examples that they will understand at different ages.  We’ve talked about one such symbol being a light bulb above a cartoon character’s head when they get an idea.  But this may be dated now since most kids don’t read the comic pages in a newspaper anymore!  With the slightly older children you can talk about how we view rituals and symbols in Christian Science vs. some other Christian religions.  This would not be an exercise in elevating Christian Science above another religion, rather an opportunity to see why we do what we do!  How do we celebrate some of the sacraments, in particular, the Eucharist?  Talk about the story in the lesson where Jesus is celebrating the Passover with his disciples and he uses bread and wine symbolically.  What message was he conveying to his disciples—to us—today?  (You should probably ask them if they know what a “sacrament” is before you launch into this line of questioning!). 

 [PYCL 2]
Maybe one way to look at the bread and wine that Jesus shared, is to think of the idea of being close to the active, healing Christ.  This would be a form of communing. You can only commune with God, with Love, if you are feeling that closeness or oneness.  So maybe he thought about his body and blood and sharing them symbolically, as a way to really feel one with one another and God, and that healing, Christ spirit.  This seems like an approachable way to share these sacrament/Eucharist/Communion thoughts with younger children.

 [PYCL 3]
In line with the above, we have the story right away of Samuel when he was a young boy, hearing God’s voice while in his bed.  Think of the clarity of hearing an audible calling of your name by God.  Certainly that would help a child feel that closeness and realness of God’s presence.  You can talk about Mrs. Eddy’s experience of hearing that same voice when she was a child.  Why did Samuel eventually have to answer God the way he did in order to continue on his mission of being a great prophet?  Don’t we need to acknowledge that we are hearing God by answering through prayerful consideration and listening, and thus seeing what God is revealing—resulting in—action– healing?  What does this story tell us about children’s ability? (Good for them to know that kids are often really good at hearing God’s voice).  Talk about all the ways that God talks to us.  Make sure you include the very ordinary things, listening to mom or dad when they ask you to do something and responding positively, being a cheerful and unselfish presence wherever you go, acting intelligently at every opportunity….etc.  These are no less valuable than hearing God in an “out loud” way the way Samuel or MBE did!!  In fact, as we listen in all the “little” ways, we start to hear Her voice in the seemingly “bigger” ways.  If we don’t practice with the ways we know, we don’t advance to the ways we don’t yet know!!  Practice practice practice!

 [PYCL 4]
Compare the symbolism in the last supper and, what MBE calls “the last spiritual breakfast”. What symbols are there in these events? We have the bread and wine (and you can look these up in the back of Science and Health and on page 35 and 33 as well).  We have the symbol of casting the net on the right side of the ship. (Talk about this—were all the fish hiding on the “right” side of the boat?  They hadn’t caught any fish all night…).  When Jesus called Peter and his brother to follow him he told them to become “fishers of men” (B4).  What does he mean and was he repeating that call at that breakfast meeting?  Do we sometimes need the reminder to cast our nets on the “right side”?  These nets are the productive ones, the fruitful ones.  These are the ones that bring the healing power of God into visible action in our experience.  Maybe you could kind of set a table at Sunday School with some ideas that represent the bread, wine, fish etc. in these stories.  You could bring actual table settings and have the ideas be either written or verbal.  You could certainly share real food, though that is not at all necessary.  One Sunday School teacher I know has used goldfish crackers to good symbolic effect if that appeals to you.

 [PYCL 5]
The Golden Text sets a great example of symbolic productivity.  Here Jesus tells us that he is the “true vine” and that everything that isn’t productive gets taken away, or pruned, if you will.  But the fruit from branches that are productive or fruitful are harvested—put to good use—so that they will produce more fruit.  These productive branches are cared for and nurtured.  God provides the inspiration and understanding so that they become more fruitful and don’t stagnate.  This is our call to put into action all that Jesus asks us to do by following him.  Can you find all the symbolic references in this lesson that call us to healing action?  There’s this one in the Golden Text. There’s Jesus’ call to become “fishers of men”.  There is his appointing of the “other seventy” (not symbolic, but a definite call!). There is the bread and wine that he asks us to eat and drink. There is the foot washing! And finally the morning meal.  We will talk about the foot washing in a minute.  And the morning meal you can talk about as our fresh, daily demand to think and act spiritually and with Christ healing power.  We are always given what we need each day (remember the Lord’s Prayer line from last week?  "Give us this day our daily bread…."?).  And each day it is fresh and new (morning). So, take each symbol and figure out how they can represent living breathing examples of healing power and activity in our lives, examples that show the power and presence of Love.

 [PYCL 6]
Talk about the symbolism of the foot washing. Explain how this was a job for only the lowest servant—feet in those days being so dirty from sandal wearing in dusty conditions.  How can we do this for others?  Can you come up with ideas that don’t involve a washtub and water?  What might a humble expression of love look like for someone today?  How do we find opportunities to express this kind of selfless love?  One thing I notice in this lesson is MBE’s statement that we “…all have the cup of sorrowful effort to drink in proportion to their demonstration of his love…”  This is an effort.  It is worth it of course, and does not come without joy and satisfaction, but it is a “sorrowful effort” too, and we need not think that everything has to be great “fun” every moment, in order to be a work of great love.  The point is though, that there is nothing that is wholly material that can offer anything like the reward that feeling close to divine Love gives us.

We can feel our closeness to God through living the love that Jesus demonstrated in his life. Have a great week in Sunday School!

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