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[PYCL: As you share goldfish crackers, talk about how Jesus illustrated law of divine abundance & share examples of divine abundance in answer to your prayers. (5) Act out sheep following their own shepherd’s voice and entering the sheepfold by the door (2)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Christ Jesus
for March 1, 2020

By Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO 314-406-0041

Pycl #1: One of the criticisms leveled at Christian Science by other more traditional Christian religions is that we take away the tenderness and the humanity of God by separating the man Jesus from the Christ. This is wholly not the case, but Sunday School discussions give us great opportunities to emphasize our deep love for Jesus and all that he did — and this week's lesson is perfect for driving home that point!

The theme of Jesus as shepherd is lovely to work with. It was Jesus' very ministry that defined God to us as Love. All the healing that he did, all the preaching, feeding of multitudes. This was to prove that Love tenderly cares for Her children, even for their human needs, in practical, tender ways. Find all the ways in this lesson where we see this tenderness.

Tell the stories and parables and see if they can see how Love is demonstrated within them.

Even the disciples leaving their nets to follow him. Can you imagine together (pretending you are "grown-ups" of course), how much love you would have to feel to leave your father in the middle of working your job with him, and follow a perfect stranger? There was clearly something at work here beyond just someone coming by and having interesting things to say in your town!

Pycl #2: Read the definition of sheep together in the second section (S8, 594:12). Talk about what that would look like in our daily lives. Can you be a good leader and also be a good follower? Ultimately, to be the best leaders, who should we be following? You might enjoy sharing the idea that we refer to Mary Baker Eddy as our "Leader", and she tells us that we should only follow her insofar as she follows Christ! ('02 4:3).

Sing together Mary Baker Eddy's hymn "Feed My Sheep"—any version that they know. Can this be a prayer that they can use to find healing? Talk about the lines in it—how do we "follow", how do we "feed God's sheep", what are we rejoicing in? And so on… With the very little ones you can bring in a cane or some sort of stick with a hook on the end to represent the staff that a shepherd would use to guide a straying sheep back to its flock. Have them demonstrate or act this out with a large stuffed animal and dress as old-fashioned shepherds (you can use sheets).

Along with this sheep "work", talk about how the shepherd names his sheep and they know their names and respond to them, but only when called by their own shepherd! How does that relate to us? Think about a big mix of flocks as they head into the hills together to graze. One shepherd needs to head a different direction to spread out the flocks, how would he get his flock to follow him? By calling them by name! Do the kids think that God calls them by name, knows who they each are? The Shepherd, Love, does! If you have a healing example to share about how you have been shepherded, do this!

One final thing. You can share with them about the differences between the Christ and Jesus. Explain that the Christ is how God speaks to us so that we understand Love's presence. If we hear God's voice as Christ, this is then how the Good Shepherd lets us know what is right to do, where we should go, how we should live. This Christ voice is how we can heal, no matter how young or old we are. This is how we can do what Jesus did!! (S9)

Pycl #3: Find a place with a door that you can use with the younger ones to open and shut as you discuss the Responsive Reading and how Jesus tells us that he is the "door". What is this door? Was he talking about a literal door?!! (maybe they will find this funny? —you can ask whether it is a wooden door, a metal door, etc.?) What does he mean then? What is a sheep fold? You could bring in a toy plastic set of fencing, or small twigs to illustrate how a shepherd might design an impromptu "fold" or pen to keep his sheep safe at night from predators.

Often, shepherds use prickly brush and sticks to surround their flock and leave a small opening or "door" where they would sleep so that they would know if anything was to come to attack their flock. What do they think Jesus meant when he said he was the "door"? If we are his sheep, we want to be safe, whole, happy, fed, healthy, and so on.

To get into Jesus' "fold", we need to go through the door, we can't push through the prickle bushes! That's the way the predators would try to get in! We are good sheep, we want to enter through the door where the shepherd lets us in. What is that "fold"? Isn't it the kingdom of heaven? How do we experience this kingdom? Is it a "place"? Have some fun expanding on this idea!

Pycl #4: This lesson has the story of some of the disciples leaving their nets to follow Jesus, and some of them going back to their nets after he was crucified. Why did they go back? Why did they leave in the first place? What do the nets represent that we are called to leave? Could the nets represent the things that make matter attractive to us?

You will need to think about what attracts the age group you have. If they aren't too small, it could be playing with electronics incessantly, maybe it is just thinking about ourselves a lot, I don't know, but I bet they will have ideas. How does matter attract and "tangle" us up, like nets do fish? How can we leave them? What did Jesus tell Peter to do instead of going back to his old life of fishing? Did Peter go on to "feed" his "lambs"? Maybe share a story or two about how Peter ended-up following Jesus, something from Acts in the Bible…

Pycl #5: Feel free to enact the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes. You may have already talked about this story as one of the examples of how Love is shepherding us. But goldfish crackers are a fun way to share "fish" and feed your group of children while letting them distribute. Obviously, you would talk about the fact that Jesus was demonstrating the law of divine abundance. How many fish were there in this story? How much bread? How many people? How much left over?!

Can you share an example of abundance that seemed inexplicable in your own experience? [Watch for a 2-29 BONUS example of a $100,000 need being met within minutes it being known!] Keeping in mind that we are following Jesus' example, can the children expect to see some examples of this abundance in their own lives? What about expecting to feel an abundance of love at school for someone that they don't like very much at the moment? If we understand better that the love comes from a Christ understanding of God as infinite Love and not from our own "thought" or "feelings", they might start to see that they don't have to "manufacture" this growing love! But they are given it! [—with "left-overs" from Love!] What about feeling an abundance of intelligence at school? [even in abundant answers to unknown exam questions…] You get the idea!

Have a great week in Sunday School!!

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