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[PYCL: Share examples of how Love has satisfied, healed, blessed and comforted you! (1)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

"Love"
for February 4, 2018

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

Pycl #1: I like that the Golden Text (G.T.) tells us to look to God to be saved, that there is nothing else to save us. What does it mean to be "saved"? Saved from what? Beyond just sickness what other ideas do the children think of? Are there other implications of the word to be "saved"? Would divine Love ever leave anyone beyond Her saving arm? The serpent (as in Genesis 2) tells us that there are other things that would be more helpful to us than God—that God is not enough. It almost always comes, as in the story, with the inflection: "you won't surely die" –rather you will be "as gods"—smarter, happier, more popular, more satisfied and so on. And then, it turns out not to be true. Love has enough (in fact infinite!!) good for all. This kind of good satisfies, heals, blesses, and comforts! Share some examples of how Love has done that for you; see if they have some examples from their own lives.

Pycl #2: Even some of these younger kids, at least 4th grade and up, are probably aware of the "me too" movement. We don't need to directly address that movement per se, but the questions it brings to the fore about women, how they are treated, whether there is equal treatment, respectful treatment—these questions can be addressed, and this lesson has four stories involving women, motherhood, power, strength, fairness/equality of laws and more. Each story illustrates how a woman or women elevated certain concepts: motherhood, military might and leadership/wisdom, legal fairness for all, and persistent love and humility and the blessings that garners. This is summed up by the final section where we could discuss the idea of the Comforter—the feminine nature of that idea—and Mary Baker Eddy's role in discovering and sharing this Comforter. Even with the very young there are many ways to share these stories as examples of how an understanding of the power and fairness of Love blesses all evenly. And we can share some great examples of how Mrs. Eddy overcame so many obstacles in her day to success and respect as a woman.

Pycl #3: Look at the idea of Mother in the Bible, as in the G.T. This is the Biblical foundation for Mrs. Eddy's translation of "Our Father" into "Our Father-Mother God,…" I don't honestly know if she was the first to state this, but I know it was an unusual view in her day! Is God actually "male" or "female"? (No, gender is a material identifier, God is Spirit.) But there are inherently feminine and masculine qualities which we possess in full measure as God's reflections. Our job is to understand these qualities and to embrace, respect and cherish them equally. Mrs. Eddy has some interesting things to say about gender if that is a direction you think will be spiritually helpful for your class.

Why does Hannah end up receiving a child when she appears to be "barren"? Is God just answering her prayer for some special reason (see citations S6 and S21)? I think it might be interesting to consider together that motherhood is a divine quality with which we are all blessed. Hannah, it seems, lifted her prayer to a level where she was willing to give her idea of having a child up to God, to a higher spiritual concept of motherhood (she wouldn't even be raising this child!). This allowed her to see that motherhood is from God, for God, and not a physiological ability. In this case, a more spiritual viewpoint brought about her conception of Samuel. Does this elevated concept of motherhood have any application to our lives as young people? What if we understand more clearly that all that we seem to "create", or "achieve", is really a product of Love's abundant reflection of goodness? Shouldn't we all then find ourselves more creative, productive and helpful members of society? If we are trying to achieve something for recognition, personal satisfaction, and so on, then are we really looking to God for our salvation as the G.T. encourages?

Pycl #4: You just have to introduce the children to Deborah! She was a judge/prophetess in Israel, respected and looked to for leadership. How was she able to lead the Jews to victory? What was her view of this battle? Make sure the children understand that the Canaanite army had chariots, more sophisticated weaponry than the Jews. Isn't this like today when people might be tempted to think that praying about problems is "out of date" or not the "best method"? What made Deborah's "method" powerful? Was she personally a "powerful warrior"? (It's kind of interesting, though gruesome to read a little more of this story and battle. One thing she tells her military leader, Barak, is that he will not get the credit for the victory in this battle, but a woman will get this recognition. This woman is Jael, who the Bible tells us, tricks Sisera—the Canaanite military leader—into falling asleep in her tent where she says she will hide him from the Jews. She then kills him while he's sleeping, becoming the hero that Deborah predicts will get the ultimate credit for this military victory. Older children will be interested in the rather gory details of this event. Your choice about what to share!)

Pycl #5: I know I'm just marching through the Bible stories in this lesson for Sunday School ideas, but really, they are just such rich, and more rarely shared stories, that I can't pass them up! Next up we have the daughters of Zelophehad. We have to share the laws of the time (indeed for many centuries, including Mrs. Eddy's) that said that only sons inherit their father's property. Discuss whether that seems fair. Do you think it might have taken courage for these women to go to Moses with their thoughts? Does it take courage today to speak up about unjust laws? To whom did Moses go to make this decision? When we ask Love to help us see the good that we are given, will Love always open our eyes to see it? What does this story tell us about who we should go to when we are struggling with unfairness over which it might seem we have no control? Maybe we will be led to talk to someone (like these women spoke to Moses), but ultimately it is Love that blesses us abundantly.

Pycl #6: In the story of the Greek woman who comes to Jesus to ask for healing for her daughter, I'm reminded of Mary Baker Eddy's definition of "Gethsemane", especially where she says "love meeting no response, but still remaining love." (S&H 586) This was a moment of deep meekness and humility for Jesus (Gethsemane), all the love that he expressed for his fellow man, being met with such hatred and cruelty. In the case of the Greek woman, she bowed in utter humility without any sense of ego to Jesus' initial words. She had the love of a mother for her child that encouraged humble persistence when first refused. You can think together about how these qualities of persistence and humility together are so powerful, rather than perhaps "weak". Can you find other examples of how these qualities healed powerfully?

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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