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[PYCL: Share why & how to continually purify thought, commune with the divine Spirit, sacrifice our material desires, reach out in love and humility!]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lesson for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:

Sacrament

Sunday, July 13, 2014

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

[PYCL 1]
The ideas behind the holy Sacraments of the Christian church are considered essential to faith in most Christian denominations. Mrs. Eddy includes the study and prayerful consideration of these rites at least twice a year. But baptism, purity, the Eucharist, sacrifice, humility (foot-bathing)—all these subjects—are often included throughout the year as themes in our Bible lessons. Understanding the spiritual meaning of these rites brings us a deeper understanding of God and of Christ Jesus' mission to mankind. These sacraments, and the qualities they inspire, make continuous demands on our thoughts and actions. We must continually be purifying (baptizing) our thought, communing with the divine Spirit, sacrificing our material desires, reaching out in love and humility toward our brothers and sisters. In this light we can share these ideas with kids of all ages this week in Sunday School. This will give them a foundational understanding of the deep significance, not of the one-time occurrence of the sharing of the Eucharist, or of baptism as a physical event, but of the spiritual demand that these events make on us each day.

[PYCL 2]
The Golden Text tells us to “…bring an offering…” to the Lord. What does that mean? What is a sacrifice, and how is it important today? (You can explain what sacrifices were in Biblical days, and what their purpose was). What sacrifice did Jesus make for us and what was the purpose of such a sacrifice? Because sacrifice, humility, purity, and love are all ways to draw closer to God, to truly commune with God, as Jesus symbolized by his sharing of bread and wine, these subjects are all kind of intertwined. You could work together to get a brief overview of all these concepts and then move freely between them to illustrate how they bring us closer to sharing in Jesus' mission to bless mankind through healing and love. Mrs. Eddy didn't “move away” from traditional Christian worship. She was inspired by, and spiritually interpreted the Bible. When we look at the Responsive Reading, we can see that the spiritual interpretation of sacrifice is right there in the passage about how Christ “…may dwell in your hearts…” This is a personal, inspired, search to know the love of God through the message of Christ Jesus. In order to welcome in the kind of deep love that Jesus embodied, we have to make our thought ready. We have to practice sacrificing material goals, loves, desires, grudges, etc. to make room for that pure love that heals. Maybe you could liken it, with the kids, to cleaning up their bedroom. Perhaps they have some important toys or items that they want to store on shelves in their room. What if the shelves are covered in clutter that they don't really care about, and dust, dirt, trash, etc.? What can they do to make room for the precious things they want to display? They need to “sacrifice” the junk that is not valuable to them, then dust (clean) and make space for the better things. Of course, draw the connection with thought here… how we do mental house cleaning, root out anger, selfishness, fear, to make room for joy, generosity, love. In the process we understand the power of God in our lives and we are blessed with healing and inspiration. This paragraph is getting ridiculously long, but you can bring the chaff and wheat example into play here, since this represents a sorting and purifying process as well.

[PYCL 3]
Baptism is a wonderful way for us to separate the false from the true. We are washed clean, gain a new (and more accurate) view of ourselves, as we baptize our thought daily. Does water clean up our thought? No, but it is a good symbol for this kind of cleaning and purifying. Christian Science, viewing the Bible message Scientifically, helps us distinguish between what is material (unreal) and what is lasting and spiritual (real) (S6). In other words, that purity of thought, spiritual baptism, helps us see God, as the Beatitude tells us! Can you come up together with a list of ways to baptize our thought each day? This list would include a lot of actions hopefully, not just things to think about… I think that's what Mrs. Eddy was suggesting in citation S9 when she talks about finding the “footsteps of Truth”. Who doesn't want to follow those?! My little boys play a lot at the “dirt place”. As the name suggests, this area is free from vegetation. They drive their toy cars around tracks, build jumps, make up stories and adventures, and come up to the house as filthy as it is possible to be. Maybe there are other little people who are familiar with getting dirty in this way. Talk about how we wash off the dirt at the end of the day. Does the dirt “say” anything about who they are? What happens to the dirt? What does the tub look like after the bath? Is the dirt part of who they are? Can we “clean” our thoughts this way? How might we do that when we are really mad at our brother/sister about something? How about if we aren't feeling to well, can we somehow use this “cleansing” process to bring healing to that situation? How is purifying thought harder than washing dirt off? Why do we, as Christian Scientists, focus on the thought purifying, rather than the symbol of “water” purifying? Is it maybe because it's more along the lines of the demands that Jesus made on us?

[PYCL 4]
We've touched on baptism, purity, sacrifice. We can look at humility and love through the lens of Jesus' example of bathing the feet of his disciples. Talk about why that was a particularly tender example of humility and also you could bring into this discussion, the story of the woman bathing Jesus' feet with her tears. Why do we have these two examples in this lesson and what are we to think about them? If a man as great as Jesus washed other's feet, what should we be doing? What kind of “foot washing” can we do each day… what does it look like in our daily life? Can you come up with some examples/ideas. If you are looking ahead at this, you could make some efforts at your own “foot-bathing” during the week and share them with the kids. While you talk about this, you could do some actual foot-bathing in your class, if your kids aren't going to make some kind of huge mess (or just pretend). Talk about how you have to get down on your knees to wash feet, you are “below” the person whose feet you are washing. What does that symbolize? You are “on the ground”, is it dirty there (compared to a chair)? You are “looking up” at the person whose feet you are cleaning. Isn't that a lovely way to show that you are seeing them as spiritually valuable, dwelling “on high”, keeping a spiritually accurate view of them? Is there anything that God sees about Her creation that is unlovable? Well then, as we wash each other's feet, we can purge away those thoughts that we hold about man that might be less than loving (sort of like fanning away and burning that chaff, right?!).

[PYCL 5]
Finally, you could talk about the Eucharist itself and what it represents. Look to citation S17 to see how Mrs. Eddy interprets each element of the Eucharist. Talk about what she means when she tells us that our Eucharist is “spiritual communion with the one God”, our bread is Truth, our cup is the cross and our wine is the inspiration of Love… Look at each one separately and think about how these symbols are spread throughout the Bible. You could think about the 23rd Psalm where “…my cup overfloweth…” If the cup is full of oil, and you check out Mrs. Eddy's definition of 'OIL' in the Glossary, you have a wonderful sense of spiritual inspiration that comes from knowing that the cup, the aggressive challenges of mortal existence, overflows at the same time with all the spiritual inspiration, understanding, prayer, etc. that we need to meet these challenges. This is but one small example of how we can look at these important Biblical symbols and bring them into our daily experience to heal and bless us. You might try drawing the outline of a cup and filling it up with healing ideas (“oil”). Maybe the kids can think of this cup as always being filled with fresh inspiration to meet the daily challenges that come up during the week. They can add to that cup each week for awhile, as they come up with fresh ideas.

[PYCL 6]
Looking at citation S21, and continuing with the idea that communing with God is a way to be close or even see that we “blend” with God, you can bring some crayons and do a “blending” exercise. Take two colors that transition with each other, like blue and green, or red and orange. Start with a pure blue, for example, and lay down a layer of that color. Start to add some green over the blue gradually as you move across the paper. Finally, the end of the block of color should have transitioned to pure green. You may want to experiment with this before class to see if you can make it work well. Then talk about how the individual colors take on the qualities of the other in the middle. Can you see where one color “ends” and another “begins”? Think about this in the context of Principle and its idea. They are “blending” together to make another hue that is also beautiful. There are, of course, limits to this analogy, but it may be helpful as a way to illustrate this concept.

Have a great Sunday!

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