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[PYCL: Worship Soul with the beauty of a holy life! (See P.S.)]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lesson for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:

Soul

Sunday, August 17, 2014

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

[Bracketed inserts by CedarS Director, Warren Huff]

 [PYCL 1]
I like the Living Bible translation of the last line of the Responsive Reading (RR): “Worship the Lord with the beauty of holy lives:” Can the kids tell you what that would mean?  What is a “holy life”?  [See P.S.]  Is it living a “perfect” life—no mistakes?  Or are we looking for something different than human perfection?  That may seem like a big subject for young pupils, but actually I see perfectionism as a real challenge for many children.  My five-year-old can become very despondent, even inconsolable, when he realizes he has done something “bad”.  I have to constantly remind him, with good cheer that we learn from making mistakes, that he is always reflecting God's perfection in his life, but sometimes that spiritual perfection gets hidden by material stuff, and spiritual perfection is not the same as doing everything humanly perfect.  The things that hide God's/Soul's light, or perfection, are like clouds though.  Have they ever touched a cloud?  If you are feeling really committed, maybe you could get a hold of some dry ice and bring it in a small cooler.  (No one should ever touch it; it will burn your skin!)  It makes great vapor.  What happens to the vapor?  Can you hold it (the vapor)?  Does it stay there in one place forever?  Does it have substance?  If getting dry ice is a bit much, you could show them some pictures of mist or clouds, etc. on a device so they see how it moves, or of course, feel free to go old school—I usually do—and have them imagine it!

 [PYCL 2]
In the Bible, when it says that God calls someone by “name”, it means more than when we use that term.  It means that God knows that someone really well, knows that person's deepest and purest spiritual identity or selfhood.  Soul is a name for God that is most often linked up with identity and creativity.  God knows each of our “names” or identities.  Why is that?  What is our identity made of?  Is it brown eyes, long, curly hair, big nose?  I think we can all agree that while that might be how we recognize someone, it's not necessarily how we would describe how we feel about them, or know them.  Can we describe ourselves in terms that are spiritual?  (We have done this before, I know, but we could do this every day as a prayer, and it wouldn't be too often.)  [CedarS 6th session will close at the end of the week with the giving of Quality Awards for our 53rd season.  Hearing about each person’s spiritual uniqueness is a tradition that never get old!] We aren't allowed to use any physical attributes when describing ourselves.  You can have them write this down if they are old enough, or make the list verbally if they are younger.  You can add things to their lists too.  Make sure you do the exercise as well!  Each of us will find that we share many qualities; does that make us all the same?  Why not?  Citation S4 gives us some good thoughts about our distinctness, the multifarious forms we take, “individualized, but not in matter.”  So it might be hard to draw a picture of this self, and yet, we are told in citation S6 that God's goodness and beauty are reflected and expressed in “form, outline, and color.”  Can we think together about color, for example, without a body?  Maybe color is something that makes us varied, funny, interesting, unique, brilliant?  Maybe form or outline is the substance of who we are as expressions of Soul—maybe our intelligence, joy, thoughtfulness, etc.  I don't know, but I'm sure you all can come up with some ideas!

 [PYCL 3]
Retell the story of Moses coming down the mountain with the two stone tablets. They will love that Moses' face shone. Why was this? What does that shining symbolize?  Can we still talk to God face to face?  There's an old story that is probably still in the Reading Room called “Travis Talks with God” that nicely illustrates the fact that anyone, of any age can talk to God today.

 [PYCL 4]
Get out the recipe books.  Talk about recipes, what do they do?  They make it so you can cook things (usually) and have them come out tasting good.  If you get all the right ingredients and mix them together and either cook them, or not, depending on the recipe, you get something edible and hopefully tasty!  Can they find the recipe for beauty in section 2?  If they aren't readers you can read it to them, but do point it out, as they may find it funny.  Bring in a recipe to read through in a cookbook, just as an illustration, and then ask, “So do we need some eggs and flour in our recipe for beauty?”  With older children, talk about this recipe.  You can just focus on the first part if you want to keep it simple—less illusion and more Soul, or the second half if that is better for you.  You will have to talk about what illusion is.  Can they make a list of things that help us to have “less illusion” and “more Soul” in our days?  What does it mean that man, God's reflection, needs no “cultivation”?  Talk about cultivation.  Help them try to imagine God “cultivating” man like we do a garden or plants.  What does this mean?  Humanly, we do try to “cultivate” certain characteristics and abilities in our life.  I am thinking that this is more or less successful depending on whether the motives are to glorify God/Soul, or to glorify—shine the light on—ourselves.  You can talk about what we cultivate, whether sports, music, or whatever we are interested in, and why we do it!  It's okay to do something because we enjoy it!

 [PYCL 5]
Some of the older kids may have to do presentations in their school experience.  How can we handle the suggestion of being nervous?  Check out section 3 and also the testimony included at the end of the MyBibleLesson for this week. (from April 7, 2014 issue of the Sentinel, some of the Cedars campers may know Stephen as a most excellent counselor for some years now!!) When our motive for sharing anything is to shine a light on God, the spotlight comes off of us, so to speak, and we are able to more clearly listen to and express exactly what God is saying to us.  It will still be individual, and your own way of expressing God, but if we listen and trust, God will “put [His] words in [your] mouth”!  (B11)

 [PYCL 6]
In section 4 we have an interesting story about a dream that Zechariah had.  Tell it in your own words.  What do they think the point is?  Can you talk about how this links with living holy lives?  When we aren't filling our thought with Godlike things, it is a bit like wearing dirty clothes—really dirty clothes.  People might walk way around you, figuring you probably smell bad…  But do these clothes really tell people anything about you that is permanent?  If you took a shower and wore clean, nice clothes, no one would walk out of the way to get around you—and yet you'd be the same person right?  With the littler kids you could bring in some really “dirty clothes” and put them on and take them off, just for fun to illustrate this idea.  You can also talk about how it's similar to Halloween costumes.  Mrs. Eddy talks about dressing our thought in “mortal” clothes and what that does in citation S18.  It can't change us to God, but it does block our view of God and of our true selves.  It can fool us, and fool others.  How about applying this to how we view other people around us?  Maybe a kid in our school class that seems difficult.

 [PYCL 7]
You can kind of continue this discussion by retelling the story of blind Bartimaeous.  Include the essential facts of how he kept hollering for Jesus, even when people told him to be quiet.  You could have the little guys act this scene out.  One to be Jesus, one to be the crowd hushing up Mr. Bartimaeous, and one to be Bartimaeous himself.  The crowd part will have fun saying “Be Quiet!”. Make sure Bartimaeous has a “cloak” of some kind that he can throw off when Jesus calls him.  Talk about the cloak.  Was it just a piece of clothing he threw on the ground because he didn't want it anymore?  Does it symbolize his desire to “re-clothe” himself in a more beautiful, radiant way, a way that sees the light of Soul?  Was he “throwing off” a material view of himself?  What did he do after he was healed?  Can we “throw off” those material thoughts about ourselves and others so that we can heal and be healed?  Jesus healed Bartimaeous by understanding that man's senses are spiritual and indestructible.  How do we know when we are using spiritual senses to see someone?  Check out citation S21, where Mrs. Eddy says: “Nothing can hide from them the harmony of all things and the might and permanence of Truth.”  So if we are seeing something less than Soul-like in a person, we probably aren't using our spiritual senses!

 [PYCL 8]
The last section affords another opportunity to do some window cleaning if you want, with the littler kids.  Cleaning our windows lets in more light.  If we want our thought to be filled up with the light of Soul, we have to get rid of all those “matter” thoughts that make our thought-windows “dirty”.  You can expand on that as you will.  The focus in this section is on the immortal nature of Soul and man dwelling eternally together… the window exercise helps us see this “immortality brought to light” (S29).  But you can just focus on letting in the light of Soul the way that Moses did in section 2.

Have a great Sunday!

[W’s P.S.: Mary Baker Eddy describes the world’s need to have us “worship the Lord with the beauty of holy lives:” (RR, Living Bible)
Beloved children, the world has need of you, — and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind!”  (Mis. 110]

 

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