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[PYCL: Share eternal life in a present knowledge of God ACTED OUT daily! Learn from soil… (1, 4)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson Ideas for Sunday School from the Christian Science Bible Lesson:

“Life” for January 17, 2021

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

Pycl #1: List how one can show eternal life in "a present knowledge of his Father and of himself…” How are we to express the fact that God is Life, is, in fact, our life? Look at the Golden Text and Responsive Reading first for an answer (Ps. 96:1, 8. Ps. 42:2, 8, 11, 40: 3, 5, 8, 10). How do these passages answer this question? In other words, how do we "sing unto the Lord a new song" or give God glory, praise Him, declare Him, how do we not "conceal" His love and goodness from those around us?

Come up with at least one action way per student to demonstrate Life for ourselves and others for this very day. Write it down, review it at the end of class. For further ideas you can look at Section 4. Citation S16/p.410:4-7 quotes Jesus, and defines life eternal as "…a present knowledge of his Father and of himself, — the knowledge of Love, Truth, and Life." Then, in citation S17/p.246:27 we are admonished to find out what it means that Life is eternal and "…begin the demonstration thereof." This is a great opportunity to consider what it means to "demonstrate" eternal life!!

There is the story of Mr. Clark in this fourth section. How did Mary Baker Eddy "demonstrate" eternal life here? I assume that Mr. Clark eventually left life on earth…does this mean that her work was irrelevant? Or are we to understand in every way possible what it means to "live", how this "living" goes on, what it means to demonstrate "life eternal" every day????

Pycl #2: Think about needed dormancy as not dead, but as being in restoration & preparation period. What is the opposite of "Life"? Most might say "death". Can they be specific? What do living things do or have in common? They grow, they move (even if very incrementally!), they change. Can they think of anything else? Must these requirements be "material"? Might some of this "living" have components of things like curiosity?

If we think we already know everything, or we don't want to learn something new, aren't we kind of behaving as if we are "dead"? A way to think about this kind of "living" or of "Life" is in terms of "newness". A tree has yearly new growth, most animals and people do too, even if they are fully mature there is new growth, humanly-speaking, of cells, etc.

Look at citations B5 and S4 (Isaiah 53:1& SH 24:11-13). There is the word "regeneration", how does this play into the idea of growth and newness? One thing to think about, and we can play with this idea further in another Pycl, is that growth, when we think of it in terms of plant life, can be slow or fast, and it can have periods of necessary "dormancy". This dormant period is not "inactive" or dead, but in a restorative and preparative place! Just something to think about!

Pycl #3: Whether in person or online, bring some potting soil and a pot, seeds, or a plant…
Discuss Section 3 which has the parable story of the man who planted seed and some fell by the wayside, etc. (cit. B12, Luke 8:4-8). Enjoy some time asking questions about what Jesus meant, look at Jesus' answers to his disciples (not in this lesson). After a robust conversation about plants, soil, people, thought, etc. look at cit. S13/p.272: 6-8 where Mary Baker Eddy talks about the "… soil of an "honest and good heart"…". Do the students have any thoughts about what this means practically? Have some fun thinking about what makes soil fertile.

Do they know about compost? Have some "compost" with you and add it to your soil. Have something like vermiculite which lightens the soil and think together about what that might mean spiritually. When we "demonstrate Truth"— see cit. S12/p.288:27-4 this is "eternal life". Is "demonstrating" truth, or Truth, an active way to continue to renew the "soil" of our thought with compost, with vermiculite?

You can talk about how we turn over soil around plants, or around existing plants to make the soil readier to receive and nourish the plant. Why would turning it over help, and what does this represent spiritually? Go ahead and plant the seeds. Talk further about weeding, tending, watering, giving sunlight, etc. as long as this line of thought seems engaging! Keep circling back to how this is an expression of Life, of growth, living, newness, and so on!

Pycl #4: Share the difference between human perfectionism & naturally expressing divine wholeness.
Living the "perfect" life as God's reflection, can be a point of confusion as the children grow older in Sunday School. We can continuously emphasize the difference between human perfectionism, and divine expression which is naturally whole, complete. I know that I emphasize this regularly, but my hope is to correct the imposition that Christian Science promotes the belief that we are somehow "perfect" humanly. No one needs to feel a false sense of pressure to live a more humanly perfect life! This is not possible, and it is not a good goal! We can certainly aspire to live a life that follows in Jesus' footsteps, but to try to falsely assert "control" over our actions in a humanly prescribed and willful way will bring stress, misery, depression, and a host of physical ills that seem to follow in the wake of these mental issues!

Look at citation S15/p.276:17 and see if this can inspire a deeper understanding of what Mary Baker Eddy meant when she said that Jesus healed by beholding "perfect God and perfect man". The marginal heading even says "perfection requisite". What does she mean? How can we "demonstrate" our wholeness, or completeness? Is this part of our being or life, or are we meant to "create" this wholeness by "adding on" to ourselves? You can try an analogy like a fruit. Hold up an apple (or another fruit). Can you "add onto" the apple to make it more "whole"? In the same way, we are complete, whole. We might need to get to know ourselves better, as reflection, but this is living, right?!!

Pycl #5: Practice recognizing when we see Christ active or "living" around us.
I love the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in Section 5/John 4. What does our "recognition" of the Christ have to do with living? What does the Christ do?

What happens when we are in the grocery store and we "recognize" someone we love? Outside of covid, we might joyfully greet them, hug them, find out what they have been up to, etc. We don't avoid them, or ignore them! In the same way, we might practice recognizing when we see Christ active or "living" around us.

Come up with a list of ways that the "living Christ" is in our presence every day. What can we do to recognize it more readily?
What should we do when we do recognize the presence of Christ? What does it look like?

Have fun with this beautiful lesson in Sunday School!

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