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[PYCL: Shut the door on material thought! Welcome healing truth in consciousness! (6)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

November 15, 2015 on

“Mortals and Immortals”

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

Pycl #1: The Golden Text makes it clear that there are not "two" men—one spiritual, one material. This is sometimes difficult to feel, so it might be a good place to start thinking about this lesson. There is certainly the suggestion that man is material—"in the flesh"—but this lesson teaches us that by developing a better knowledge of Christ—the fullest representative of the immortal, spiritual man—we can demonstrate here and now, our immortal nature. Find examples in the lesson of how the "immortal" man became apparent when the Christ was revealed in thought. Enoch, the young man with epilepsy, and Dorcas' story all were proofs of the power of understanding our nature as being expressions of God's, Spirit's being, rather than the flesh. Take the stories, one at a time, and see how they support the lesson subject. Obviously Enoch, for example, lived a really long time. But in the end he didn't die. He was "translated" (B4), or "walked with God" (B3). Do the kids know what that means? Who else in the Bible did that? (Jesus is not the only other one!) Isn't this our goal—to make our spiritual identity so clear in our consciousness that matter disappears completely? Is this beyond our reach? What did Jesus say about this? What does Mrs. Eddy say about this? How do we not "live in the flesh"? What does that mean? Maybe we could think of it like acknowledging that while it certainly seems like we have to eat, sleep and so on, we don't have to consent to this as our true state of being. We know that there is something more real and powerful than this and we see it through spiritual healing. Share examples!

Pycl #2: There are a lot of references to "consciousness" in the lesson. Being conscious of the true nature of man makes that man more visible to us. So developing this true consciousness is paramount. We could relate this to the translation idea. We are dealing with thinking, not with the body. Citation S6 talks of mortal consciousness disappearing (kind of like ascension or translation right?) With that disappearance comes the conscious recognition of reality, perfection, harmony. Maybe you could make a little demonstration of this with younger kids. It might be like having a wall in front of you that you cannot see around. You don't know what is on the other side of that wall. That doesn't mean there isn't anything there, just that you can't see it. Matter is a bit like that. It can seem like a brick wall, but when we knock it down, we see the view, the reality. We didn't create that reality; it is there all the time. You can certainly make an exercise of this with room dividers or whatever you have available. Bring some surprising things to put on the other side of such a barrier so they don't know what is there! There is a story within a story in a children's book called "Mouse Soup". This one part of the story involves two stones on a hillside that love the view from where they are—grass, flowers, other stones—but are dying to know what is on the other side of the hill. They ask a bird to tell them about the other side one day. The bird reports that it's amazing; there are castles and rivers and trees, etc. The stones spend the next century miserable that they live on the "wrong side" of the hill. But then they finally decide to ask a mouse what is over the hill and he describes to them that it is wonderful—full of grass, flowers and other stones—just like their own side of the hill. The stones then declare that the bird had lied to them all those years ago. And then they are happy again. Matter is like that. It has no perspective, no consciousness of reality. It is blinded by the limits of its own ability. We are not "stones" on a hill that are limited, inanimate objects. We are limitless beings, more like the bird, with perspective and insight into what is real and true. (Okay, I do realize the limits of this analogy, but maybe it would be fun to share if you see fit… )

Pycl #3: In order to understand ourselves as the immortal man of God, we must "throw off" the "old man" or the false sense of ourselves as mortals, before we can really accept the true nature of man, of ourselves as immortal ideas (S31). We cannot bring a false sense of ourselves along in thought as we work to see our immortal nature. This is like trying to walk up a mountain while dragging a huge block of stone behind us. It just is too hard, if not impossible to make any forward progress. If we want to understand our immortal nature we have to work with an unlimited sense of things, not a material sense. One thing that might be fun to try to illustrate this concept is to have the kids take a list of words you give them and have them describe an object with only that list of words. For example: have them describe the sun with these words: cold, wet, white, fluffy, flaky, weightless, meltable, deep, and so on. If your vocabulary is limited to words that describe snow, it would be hard to describe the sun with them. If our thoughts about ourselves or our fellow man are limited to a vocabulary of material descriptions, we will never approach an accurate understanding of man as immortal.

Pycl #4: There is always the exercise of having the kids ponder the "old" and "new" man idea. What does that mean to them? How can they "put on" the new man? You could bring out a dress-up box for the littler ones and talk about what the "new man" would wear. Maybe he or she would wear a crown to symbolize that they are rulers over material sense and matter. Maybe they'd wear a scarf to represent the tender love and warmth of Love as reflected by immortal man. Maybe they could put on a coat that would be their armor of righteousness or whatever they come up with together. Are they just covering up the old man with a bunch of nice spiritual ideas? No, the idea is that the insecurities, limitations, fears and so on have evaporated, disappeared and the clothes represent not a covering up of an "old man" but a clothing of spiritual, immortal man.

Pycl #5: Often we think of ourselves as like our parents. Little kids may not think of heredity, as such, but they'd understand that they might look a bit like the rest of their family, or might have similar beliefs and ideals to their family. This is a thin counterfeit of the truth that God made us in His image—the truth of immortal man. Mrs. Eddy says in citation S18 that "Mortal thought transmits its own images, and forms its offspring after human illusions." This is the suggestion that mortal mind and matter together can create things. God alone creates. All that He creates is real and true and lasting/immortal. Maybe bring in some counterfeit money and talk about things that look "real" but are not. How do we distinguish between what is real and false? In the store they often have a special pen that they can use on money to reveal whether it is real or not. What would we use to make this determination? How about spiritual sense? Talk about what this is—the fact that we all have it—how Mrs. Eddy defines it. Practice using it right there in class. How would we describe someone in class using spiritual sense?

Pycl #6: Looking at the story of Peter healing Dorcas I found myself asking why they thought to call on him after she had already apparently died? Peter was in a neighboring village… but I think it's safe to assume that a significant amount of time probably passed between when she breathed her last and when Peter arrived on the scene. I'm sure they had heard of Peter's works, and they were familiar also with the works of Jesus… but I wonder if some of them were perhaps overwhelmed with the question "why"? Why had this good woman died before "her time"? Look at all the things she did for others, how well loved she was… why would she be allowed to die if God is good as Jesus preached and Peter did too? Now I don't know for sure that that is what some were thinking, so don't take this for Biblical fact; it is just something that occurs to me this week. And, interestingly, Peter doesn't bother answering that question if it was asked. Just as the Master did so often by stooping down and drawing on the ground, or by walking through a crowd of angry people, or by telling an unexpected story, Peter doesn't address the unspoken question. He answers it by demonstration, by healing Dorcas—raising her from death and into life. Sometimes it is helpful in our own thought to quell those questions that rise up to tell us that matter is more real than spirit, more impressive, more present, and just go straight to healing. We can start with past healings, affirming them, giving gratitude for them, and acknowledging the truth in them. We can move on to affirm more powerfully the presence of God, and why we know that He is present and powerful. We can "put forth" (B18) those doubtful, mourning, angry, unjust thoughts and make room for the immortal reality of our being to rise up in our consciousness. Just like putting off the old man before we can welcome the new into thought, we have to shut the door on material thought before we can really move ahead and welcome healing truth into our consciousness.

Have a great week in Sunday School.

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