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PYCL: Spiritually modernize the stories of the Hebrew boys & Samaritan woman (3, 5). Illustrate Spirit’s liveliness with a fan & an old-belief holder with a holey plastic bag (1, 2).
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Spirit
for February 9, 2020

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

Pycl #1: I love the idea that Spirit is what animates us. The Bible uses it to indicate "breath" and “inspiration" (words that share meaning!). Have the children try closing their eyes and thinking of what it feels like to take a deep breath. Can they imagine how that is a bit "like" being filled with the liveliness of Spirit? You can bring a small electric fan and have them experiment with how it moves things, how they can feel the breeze it makes. In the same way, Spirit can be felt and we can see Spirit's activity, but we can't actually see Spirit. They can each take a turn letting the fan move their hair, or blow a tissue.

Once we have an idea of how Spirit animates, let's look at the Golden Text and Responsive Reading. Here we have wisdom (the "animation" of Mind), and we have the part where God never gets tired. And finally, we have the passage at the end of this that tells us: "…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." God/Spirit works as regularly and powerfully as breath goes in and out of us! It is not human might or power that governs, but the "spirit" of Spirit, if you will!

Pycl #2: Bring in a small tote bag. Fill it to the top with a number of things that can be used to illustrate "old beliefs" from citation S27. Make a list together of "old beliefs" that we need to "cast out" to make room for the "new idea". What is the new idea? Might it be the Christ spirit that reveals spiritual reality, harmony, health, joy and so on—even when things don't appear to align with these things? Make sure your list of "new idea" things is at least ten times longer than the "old beliefs"! As you dramatically remove the "old beliefs" from the bag, you can then decide whether you might need a "new bag" to put "new ideas" into?

Talk about the "old wine/new bottles" idea from both the Bible and Science & Health in Section 6. What does that actually mean? Talk about the "false views of matter" that "perish" with this new, spiritual understanding (S27). If you want to start with a bag that might be shabby, have holes in it, etc., you could easily accomplish this by using an old plastic grocery bag (easy to poke holes in!) You can certainly take this analogy far, think: new ideas are perhaps too "big" for this bag, or too "heavy/substantial" to keep from breaking the bag! Have some fun with these ways to expand on this idea.

Just to help you get started on this old belief to new idea analogy: an old belief might have something to do with genetics/inheritance, while an opposing new idea might have to do with our one and only divinely unlimited inheritance. An old idea might be that we are made out of matter that gets hurt, old, sick. New idea: man is entirely spiritual, and an understanding of this proves our harmony, health, freedom, as Jesus did in some of the stories in this lesson! Old idea: I get bummed out when I have to do something that I really don't like doing…what is a new idea that helps with that thought?

Pycl #3: Citation S23 tells us that the Scriptures are only useful when interpreted spiritually. How does the story of the Hebrew boys in Section 2 apply spiritually to our lives today? Look at this story from all angles and see if the children have any thoughts about what this "idol" is today—is it maybe different for different people? Is it medicine, popularity, success at something?

Notice some things in the story like the fact that Nebuchadnezzar set up this idol on the "plain of Dura". Isn't this a way of making it as visible as possible? Is there something in our experience that seems very "visible" to us that seems to command that we "worship" it? Is it our body, our friendships, food, success? You won't want to put words in their mouths, but see what they come up with! What does the fire represent?

What are we being "careful" about in our living—the boys say:"…we are not careful to answer thee in this matter." What does that mean? Do we have any convictions that we are not ever "careful" about? Are we "careful" about what we believe when talking to those who are not familiar with how we think? Why, or why not? Are we just plain careful about how we live? Shouldn't we live in absolute joy, freedom, vigor?

What does it mean that the King saw a "fourth" person in the furnace? What does the King's rage represent about matter and a material standpoint? These are just some of the unlimited questions we can ask that give us a more deeply spiritual view of this story.

Pycl #4: What do the children think of citation S15? Is that Spirit here today to inspire us to do the same things that Jesus did? Jesus established the precedent for "…all Christianity, theology, and healing. Christians are under as direct orders now, as they were then, to be Christlike, to possess the Christ-spirit, to follow the Christ-example, and to heal the sick as well as the sinning." (bold italics added). What do the students think of this? If they feel inadequate, let's talk about what they can do to fulfill this.

All that the Bible requires is inherently doable—so let's assume that while we are not Jesus, his request of us to "heal the sick…" is possible today. You can even talk about "raising the dead and casting out demons", what does that mean? It can be thought of in more than a literal way (might "demons" be depression, anger, resentment, even boredom?). In Jesus' day, leprosy was the dread disease, perhaps there is another fear today (though I wouldn't bring up anything specific!).

How does this week's lesson on Spirit help us to think about our own ability to reflect the kind of dominion that Spirit bestows? Think back to the Responsive Reading: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." Spirit animates, gives us lively being. This being is harmonious, orderly, joyful, intelligent, skilled and so on. Knowing this, accepting this, helps us experience it!

Pycl #5: Okay, let's do one more Bible story. The woman who is by the well is a Samaritan, a much-despised group of people to Jews in the day, even though they are from a similar background. Also, she is a woman, not someone that a man would tend to speak with in public in those days. Why is this story here in our lesson on Spirit? What are the spiritual elements in this story?

Have a small pitcher of water available to show that once you have filled a number of cups, you will have no more water in the pitcher. People in this part of the world would have known that there was no such thing as a "bottomless" well, they lived in the desert! Just like that pitcher, they would use up the water eventually if it was over-tasked. But, Jesus tells her that if she had asked him he would have given her "living water", water that quenches thirst forever, from a well that never dries up, and gives us eternal life. What is he talking about?

If we begin accepting the spiritual nature of the universe, a universe based not at all in matter, not sharing matter and Spirit, but entirely spiritual, then we can start to understand this bottomless well. We can also start to experience some of the limitless living that comes from just a tiny bit of understanding this spiritual reality. What do the students think of when they think of a spring of water? It bubbles up out of the ground, it is clear, cold, fresh. Can we think of this as joy? Energy? Wisdom? Inspiration? Do these things pertain to our subject this week?

Have a great Sunday School class!

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