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[PYCL: Send each one home with the treasure of their most meaningful quality. (#2)
Become more conscious of what you are thinking about. (#3) Bring fruit and veggies! (#5)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for March 17, 2019

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

Pycl #1: I remember many a lively, and often silly, argument that we would have as young students of Christian Science with our Sunday school teachers about what constituted "substance" and what did not. It probably wasn't very fruitful to tell the truth…. So how can we make this subject one that touches the thought of our pupils? The focal point in this week's lesson is on the spiritual treasure that God has already planted in us, His ideas. This treasure is embedded in the Kingdom of Heaven within–mentioned in the Golden text and several other places. Particularly B17 speaks of how God's laws are put into our "inward parts" written in our hearts. The heart is mentioned in conjunction with treasure also many times. Why? Well, because we cherish what we keep in our heart. If that thing that we are holding in our heart is spiritual, then we are cherishing something substantial, otherwise, it is likely to eventually "decay", or fall into some kind of ruin/disappointment. Does this mean that we have to have some kind of sterile, "high and mighty" sense of what we are holding in our thought/heart? No! In fact, really every one of us has, at root (dare I say "heart"?), a substantial treasure!

Think about it. If a student sees his or her treasure as being successful at something, what might that truly mean? Aren't they really wanting to know what gives them the power, intelligence, success in that endeavor? Because we are God's ideas, we naturally reflect Her substance. This might be obscured in more material thoughts or pursuits, but it is there, because our true nature and being is spiritual! So, this Pycl would be about discovering what the substantial treasure in each of their hearts might be.

Here is a way to get at that conversation. Look together at the story of Solomon. Ask what would they answer if they felt that God was asking them what they wanted. One answer I got (after we got past jokes about new motorcycles, etc.) was that he wanted to "know how to love other people even when they were being mean to him". That seems like a great treasure to me! So how can we see that actually God has bestowed that treasure on each of us? How can we tap into that power, learn to see our ability to do this and recognize that God is currently blessing us with that ability? What treasures and qualities do we possess (have in our treasure chest, see Pycl #2) already, to help us make progress toward seeing that we are equipped to succeed in loving even those that are "mean" to us? Might they be treasures such as: patience, humor, maturity?

Pycl #2: We have done this before, but if you are teaching younger children you could bring in something that would represent a "treasure chest". Decorate it any way you wish, or have them do this with you. You can put qualities that you decide are spiritual, substantial "treasures" on slips of paper and put them in the box. Or you could choose objects that you label with these qualities that represent "treasure". They can come up with what these treasures are and put them in the chest, or draw them out and share how that quality is lasting, helpful, comes from God. Add to the treasure chest over months and open it once in a while in the future to see what is filling it! Send them each home with a "treasure" that is, to them, the most meaningful quality.

Pycl #3: Could we think of substance as the part of our thought that is most prevalent? What do we think about most/often? Seek honesty here! Consider sharing some of your prevalent thoughts….are they "to do" lists? "What TV show am I going to watch tonight?" Just so they don't get the idea that we are all somehow thinking unattainable thoughts all the time 🙂

Can we then move to consider being more conscious of what we are thinking of? Are we aware when we sigh deeply about some obligation? If we can be aware, then we can ask ourselves the question, "why?". Then, from there, we can think about what about that "chore" is spiritually substantial. After that, we can find a greater sense of peace, joy, less burden and so on in doing what needs to be done, because we are seeing the spiritual substance behind what we must do!

Pycl #4: One of the keys to recognizing the spiritually rich inheritance that is ours, is in understanding our spiritual, substantial nature as God's ideas. Citation S6 might be a good place to investigate this idea. What is "material selfhood"? Can they think of what that means?

Maybe our material selfhood is best described by too regular thoughts about our body, our health, our food, our clothes, our friends and their personalities, etc. This can be connected with citation B12 where Jesus advises against thinking of these things. What does this mean? Does it mean that we can't think about what we are going to have for dinner? Can't enjoy a clothes shopping trip or care about what we wear? Not at all. See if they can define what they think Jesus means here. What does it mean to "deny material selfhood"? Is it truly a sacrifice—or more like giving up wearing a swimsuit in thirty degrees?

Pycl #5: Bring in a selection of fruit and vegetables (maybe bring some things that they might want to eat at the end of class). Ask the students what kinds of trees/vines/plants these fruits, etc. grew on. Hold up, say, an apple and ask if it grew on a grape vine, or a peach tree. Is that possible (forget about grafting for now!)? Can we grow pinecones on a fruit tree? Have the students direct this line of questioning too. After going through a bit of this look at citation B14. Why is this question being asked? What do we think about when we see people do bad things? Did God make them to do that, or allow them to do that?

Go back to what we want to hold in our thought as substance, as truth. When we live a substantial life (a life where we are conscious that the kingdom of God is within), we find that we have substantial joy, substantial ability to bless, substantial intelligence and so on. We also find that in expressing these qualities and acting up to these abilities, we understand the substance that is ever-present in our lives.

So we can go back to the idea with the fruit and think about how we have that kingdom within each of us, so out of that kingdom, only Godlikeness can truly have power, impact on our experience. The rest of the bad behavior, etc. does not proceed from God, and cannot truly have power or lasting hold on our lives. Now take a look at the story in citation B15 and see how this is illustrated in the way that Jesus perceives this substance within Zacchaeus!!

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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