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[PYCL: Stop seeing matter as substantial! See God's power and presence all around! (3)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for


on September 18, 2016

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

Pycl #1: I love that Christie has shared in her CedarS Met the need to stay away from the broader claim that matter isn't "real". This is something that we discover through demonstration, but discussing it in Sunday School can devolve into esoteric arguments about whether the chair next to you is "real" or not. Thinking in terms of ideas, in terms of unlimited thought and unlimited being is much more fruitful. Matter is limited; it is limited in every way. So—read her Met and get a sense of where to go with that!!

Pycl #2: The Responsive Reading (RR) is full of metaphors for the enormity of God. Use another translation to help the children see that the metaphor is speaking of God holding all the oceans in His hand, and measuring heaven between his thumb and pinky (a "span"). Obviously God is not a giant person, but this is a wonderful way to poetically express the infinite nature of God. Matter is the very opposite of this. It is always limited, in every way. And, like it says in the Golden Text, matter really is "silent", has no voice, no ability to speak, express itself, communicate, when we understand the absolute allness of God. He really is "first" and "last" (RR)

Pycl #3: There is a real sense in this week's lesson that we experience more of God's infinite reality as we refuse to be fooled by matter. Daniel refused to recognize any other power – not that of Darius, not that of mental malpractice from the other heads of state. He saw God's power and presence around him. I don't think that he was necessarily immune, I'm sure he had to struggle with fear. But he had experienced enough of God's goodness to know that there was no true power in matter, either in the form of envy, hatred, or lions.

I also have enjoyed thinking about Daniel's story this week as an example of what can happen when we get focused on material success. This can be put in terms of things children think of. Daniel's enemies were looking for recognition, "substantial" positions in life. They were looking for it in matter. And poor Darius was easily fooled into asking people to worship the wrong thing because he, too, was impressed by a sense of material recognition. Daniel only prayed to God (three times daily) to worship God, give gratitude, and recognize God's goodness and presence. I'm sure he prayed for deliverance from the lions, but we are led to believe that Daniel's faithful devotion was based on his love for, and understanding of God, rather than on personal gain. So this story is not only about faithful devotion to God, but also about worshiping the only thing that is real and worthy—God, who is substance and not matter.

Pycl #4: The parable of the Tares and Wheat can be visited in several ways. It is interesting to help pupils understand the nature of how the plants look the same while young, difficult to separate because of looks, but also because the wheat will get pulled up along with the tares when you try to weed them out. You can discuss the many angles of this metaphor, explain metaphors to the children, and see if they can come up with some thoughts here. This lesson includes much about discerning the difference between limited and unlimited thought/being.

I like that citation S21 tells us that progress separates the two from one another. Progress/demonstration/healing, all help us to recognize what unlimited, spiritual gifts we are being given by God, all the time.

Also in citation S21 Mrs. Eddy talks about how impossible it is to mix the limited (matter) with the unlimited (spiritual). She uses frost and fire in her analogy. You could bring in a cooler with ice cubes and mix them with some hot water. What happens to the cubes? (They do not "mix", they disappear…make that clear!) Let the kids stir them around and watch what happens.

I also enjoy the thought that we cannot look to the material picture to evaluate how the spiritual is progressing. The wheat and tares may grow together, sometimes very hard to separate visually. We keep on working (watering, cultivating, fertilizing—studying, praying, uplifting) until harvest time and the truth becomes apparent and the lies are easy to reject (and burn!).

Pycl #5: Bring in some feathers and some pebbles or small gravel that is clean. Lay a sheet or newspaper on the floor and try gently tossing/dropping from a height, a mix of feathers and gravel into the air. Have someone blow air across as they are tossed and watch how the feathers float away while the gravel falls straight to the floor. Warren's shared Cobbey Crisler ideas (in PS1) show that a fan, in Bible days, was actually a fork, like a hay fork, that one used to toss the wheat in the air so that the chaff would blow away with the wind. You could, nonetheless, have the children use paper fans to make the feathers blow away more readily. Do talk about how the chaff would be burned by a downwind fire so that it could never mix again with the grain. Can they think of what that symbolizes? Don't think we'll be starting fires of that sort in class, but you could certainly discuss the symbolism!

Pycl #6: Again, what does Jesus' walk above the waves symbolize for us today? Was it just a unique moment for the disciples' benefit? No! So what does it mean for us? What is this lesson asking us to "walk"/think/demonstrate above? How can we do this, at any age? What does the water symbolize for us? What does the "instant" transportation symbolize? These children are perfect candidates for accepting with purity and little resistance, the enormity of being dropped in a lions' den, or walking on water. We grown-ups tend to think of such things as "impossible" while they can conceive of God's utter reliability and power being available to them. We may not need to walk on water, and probably won't face a den of hungry lions either. But we can share with the kids some thoughts on what these challenges represent in our lives today and bring the Bible alive.

Have a great Sunday!

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