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[PYCL: Stand firm for Substance, fight for it, "hold your ground" and “win” it! (S23, #8)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

September 13, 2015 on

“Substance”

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

Pycl #1: How do we see and feel God's abundant substance (all the good He gives us)? Talk about what substance is, and why it is not matter, even though that might seem like substance to us. Consider the song: "Love is something if you give it away" Here is a link to one version of this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IclFQj4l3F0 It has a couple of extra verses that I'm not familiar with and though the last is pretty irrelevant, the third verse works right into the lesson! This is a great song to sing with little guys and a great verse to speak about with older kids, even though they'd probably look at you funny if you sang it! I like the link between the idea of demonstrating our love of God by showing it to mankind. It really goes hand-in-hand with Section 6 which talks about harvesting the fruit that you have planted. You can bring this into the discussion by pointing out that the final step in giving a healing treatment is that step of demonstration, recognizing that the truth is established and experienced in health or harmony of some kind. This is kind of like picking the fruit during harvest… more on that in Pycl #2.

Pycl #2: Talk about what it takes to raise a crop. We have to get the soil ready. This could mean turning over new ground, pulling all the heavy and tight roots out and shaking off all the dirt. When the flowers on a fruit tree bloom you have to spray them at just the right time with something to prevent the bugs from growing inside the fruit as it grows. We must constantly tend our crops with water and weeding. Likewise, our thought needs careful watching. Check out citation B14. This is putting what you've learned about substance into action/demonstration. If you don't take this step it is a bit like thinking all the right things, saying all the right things, but not actually doing them. Demonstration is vital to keeping Christian Science and the understanding of God vital and substantial. Demonstration or harvest is the proof that God and His manifestation, man, are substantial and that matter is not.

Pycl #3: The Golden Text is worth a look with your class. See what Mrs. Eddy says about tithe in the Glossary (595) and dig into this passage. I like the imagery here and you can put things like "meat" into modern English for the kids. What does opening “the windows of heaven” look like to them? What do they see pouring out? If we are grateful, full to brimming, we find ourselves deeply happy and satisfied–you might say full. If our gratitude is small, we might just not notice all the good around us and it spills out over our "cup". You could illustrate this with a small and large cup and a pitcher of water. You can set the cups inside a bowl or plastic tub. Have them fill them up and let it overflow. All the water spills out over the top right away in a small cup and that's all you have to drink. But when our cup of gratitude is larger we can hold more water… even then, God is pouring out more blessings than we can contain, but at least we can appreciate more of them 🙂 You can emphasize that there would never be a big enough cup because the idea that there cannot be room enough points to the infinite nature of God's blessings.

Pycl #4: Looking at the story of manna we can talk about how God truly does literally feed us. Of course, this is metaphorical as well; He gives us understanding, joy, satisfaction and so on. But take a look together at this story. Even though the Children of Israel were demonstrating quite a bit of ingratitude after being led out of slavery, they witnessed the abundance of God's care over and over during the forty years of their desert wanderings. There is a sense of equality here that is emphasized in the last verses of citation B3 where it tells us that "…he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating." God's provision is abundant for all according to need. This idea is revisited in Section 3 as well. If you look again at Rick's met at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/articles/2015/9/sunstance/ , you can see an example that Ruth Huff, CedarS Founder, shared with him about finding a cook for the summer at the last minute. I have had similar experiences when our family was facing some challenging times. One summer morning we faced a partial box of cereal and a jar of mayonnaise in our fridge and no money at all (and two kids at the time). We all had a good laugh and a good pray too, and wondered how we would see God's goodness on that day. We got a check in the mail that we weren't expecting, enough to feed us for a bit. That same summer, while still seeming to scrape the bottom of the barrel, as they say, it was CedarS itself that came to the rescue offering my husband and me work during 5th session and sending us home with many bags of food that were left over up at Junior Leadership. As I recall we lived off those groceries for at least a few weeks with only a few supplements like milk. Can you find some examples in your life of “manna” that fell from heaven for you? Can the kids think of any examples in their own lives?

Pycl #5: This may sound like it contradicts the paragraph from above, but it really doesn't. How are we identifying substance in our lives? If we see it as an abundance of material things then that is not spiritual, eternal, infinite substance. Citation B8 tells us what we must hunger and thirst after if we wish to be "filled", satisfied. Maybe there is a road we have to follow to get to the point where we genuinely do thirst after righteousness. We can pray to really feel this, ask for this earnestly. Our truest selfhood does want this! Look at the story of Mary and Martha and talk about choices. I think it's important to note that Martha got caught up—you might say fooled—that her job of serving was more important than listening. Sometimes we think we are doing the "right" thing, when really we are ignoring the important part of healing. Being generous, selfless, and serving are all good, we just cannot neglect the next step of practice, or we will find our life to be without harvest. We must always be listening for the Christ presence in everything we do. Nothing we do is just some kind of "day to day" thing. For example, we don't go to school because we have to, or because we need to learn certain things to be educated. We “…study to show [ourselves] approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2Tim. 2:15) This is a substantial goal. It is a goal that can be fulfilled.

Pycl #6: Try asking of your pupils the question posed in citation S10. See what they have to say. Let this be their discussion if they will take it. Our hopes and desires must be spiritually substantial in order to answer this in the positive. I think this question can be posed to young children too. If they aren't sure talk about what it might take to answer "yes". Notice that she tells us what our "duties" are in this same citation. I see at least three of them. Can they find them?

Pycl #7: Why is it hard for a rich man (mentioned in citation B9) to enter heaven? This goes to the theme of seeing God's plenty around us–the Golden Text and the invisible made visible. I have been having a blast with the parable in citation B10 this week. I keep finding new ways to see it. You could see this as another way to address the idea of God blessing all equally. How? Perhaps you could see the ones that got jobs first thing as ones that were just plain lucky. They were the ones that were "in the right place, at the right time" as they say. You could see this as being part of a race or culture that seems to be thriving or dominating, being born into a family/country that is wealthier, better educated, or goes to better schools—take your pick. The workers that come along later in the day could be ones that have looked long and hard for a fulfilling job, or for any job at all, but without success. Maybe they had many children to feed and the earlier workers had none. At any rate, the point is well made that God gives his love to all without holding back; and we are told not to compare ourselves in any way to another. It reminds me of another one of Jesus' parable in which the older brother in this story stays home and "keeps his nose clean" while the younger goes out and "waste[s] his substance with riotous living" (Luke 15). Here Jesus tells us that the older brother is upset because his younger brother's return is celebrated while his own steadfast service seems overlooked. The father in the story tells him that "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine… ". Again, no need to compare our lives, our good, to another's. But, maybe that older son needed to look at why he was serving. Was it out of gratitude and love? I think this parable is one that may stand on its own as a discussion piece if you don't try to tell the kids what to think about it. See what they make of it and encourage them to share any ideas they have, rather than just telling them right off what you think it means. If they get to feeling like they just don't see why this is fair, then think about having them ponder it this week at home and come back next week with some more thoughts. You could send them a little note during the week to keep it at the forefront of their thought.

Pycl #8: Okay, this is getting long, but of course you can look at the last story in citation B13 about Peter and John healing the lame man with an eye toward substance. Man's substance cannot be fragile, deformed, diseased. Why is this story in this lesson? What was the man asking for? What did he end up getting? Which gift was one of substance? (Obvious, I know.) Substance is something that we fight for. We "hold our ground" as Mrs. Eddy tells us in citation S23. All the cool things you were inspired about at camp this summer? We need to stand firm on those experiences and others that have proven to us the substance of God's presence and power in our lives.

Have a Sunday of substance!

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