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PYCLs— 1) DEFINE SOME WORDS AND DO A DEMO. 2) PLAY A HIDING GAME.  3) BUILD A WALL WITH NEHEMIAH. 4) WHAT IS NECROMANCY IN TODAY’S CONTEXT? 5) WHAT “GREAT THING” ARE WE WORKING ON THAT WE NEED TO PROTECT?
CedarS PYCLs, Possible Younger Class Lessons, for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson:

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism Denounced”
for May 23-29, 2022

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


PYCL #1: DEFINE SOME WORDS AND DO A DEMO.

There are some big words in the subject of this week’s Bible lesson. It’s always helpful to get a definition appropriate for whatever age. With the littles ask if they know what hypnotism means. Have they ever seen a cartoon or something like that where someone hypnotizes someone else by dangling a watch or pendulum in front of their eyes and telling them their “eyes are getting heavy”, etc.? You can pull out something that could substitute as a watch on a longer chain, or anything that can swing back and forth. Hand it around the room. Do they think it has power to cause people to become hypnotized? (By this time, you need to have explained hypnotism. If they are a little older, looking at the actual definition together is pretty revealing!)

What role do we play in being hypnotized?
Do we have to consent to it? In what ways are we hypnotized today (if we aren’t sitting in a room with someone who is telling us they are going to hypnotize us)?
Sometimes we are hypnotized by news reports of violence, or by other suggestions of evil.
Sometimes we are hypnotized by our phones and electronics!
Sometimes we get hypnotized by gossip, or someone’s unkind remark.
Maybe the students can think of other examples. But in none of these has someone stood in front of them and said “Now I’m going to hypnotize you”. So, it requires us to be alert and watchful. We can bring this watchful theme in later!


PYCL #2: PLAY A HIDING GAME.

You probably can’t safely play a hiding game for real in Sunday School, but if they are small enough you could make a show of it with perhaps a sheet over a table, providing a place to be concealed. Talk about how error tries to hide good. Explain that life is joyous when we choose the good and express that good. (citations B1/1 John 4:1 and B3/Deut. 30:19,20).

Read or “retell” citation S3/480:31-2 which states: “As vapor melts before the sun, so evil would vanish before the reality of good. One must hide the other. How important then, to choose good as the reality!” A sheet over the table might hide you from view, and it also might hide the rest of the Sunday School from your view, but it doesn’t mean that the Sunday School, or you, are not there!  (Have them try this out) Good/Love, is the same way. It is always present, even when the “sheet” of error tries to hide it from you, or you from it!!

You can also talk to them about how sunlight and warmth melts away vapor or fog/mist, and how the mist doesn’t “fight back”. In the same way, darkness doesn’t “fight” the light, or run and hide somewhere when you turn on a light.


PYCL #3: BUILD A WALL WITH NEHEMIAH.

With the youngest, tell the story of Nehemiah and have some building blocks at the ready. These blocks can be cardboard boxes you have collected, real blocks, Legos, or anything else you can stack. If they are things you don’t want to write on, then have some masking tape at the ready so you can label each block with the qualities we need to have to keep our mental walls sound and solid. The story is one that reveals the powerlessness of evil revealed through watchfulness, armed, persistent work, courage, inspiration, divine confidence, listening to right and so on.

Talk together about what we are “armed” with as we daily build our own walls?
Look up the definition of Jerusalem in Science and Health.
Look at the statement in citation S14/392:24: “Stand porter at the door of thought.” How do we do this? Stand porter against what? Again, we are faced with the fact that we are not likely to have people like Sanballat and company directly confronting us, does that mean that we are not in any danger of being derailed?
I speak from experience when I say that our best intentions can be derailed by silly things like boredom, a desire to fit in, or just not being alert to who we are, our truest sense of self.

After you have told this story and enjoyed it, if you are teaching small children, build a wall together and write those qualities on each “block”.
Have them think up what qualities it would take for them to build, to watch, and to do it all in a short time.
Maybe just staying energized and rested while doing good is one of these qualities!


PYCL #4: WHAT IS NECROMANCY IN TODAY’S CONTEXT?

I’ll never forget the moment, many years back, that the inspiration came to me that necromancy today is looking to the past for comfort, answers, with nostalgia or longing, etc. For some reason it did not occur to me when I was younger that this is its present iteration. I love the idea that we need to be focused on our present good, that this is where we find our salvation–as Paul tells us!

Of course, little children do not tend to look to the past for much, but it’s worth sharing with slightly older children, since the dictionary definition of necromancy doesn’t really have much relevance to us today. There is abundant and present good and the present is the only place in which we can truly exist!

Come up with some ways that maybe we have been practicing “necromancy” in our lives.
Do we have regrets that we can’t let go of?
Are we holding a grudge or some resentment against someone?
Do we keep our siblings or friends in a particular place in our thought out of which they cannot grow or change?


PYCL #5: WHAT “GREAT THING” ARE WE WORKING ON THAT WE NEED TO PROTECT?

This Pycl should probably follow number 3, but I think it’s a great question to ask ourselves in light of this story of Nehemiah. What is a “great thing” that we are working on each day, something that we are alert about, dedicated to, staying conscious about. What is it that we need to be alert to, so we make sure we don’t come down off that “wall” and dally in insignificant distractions that would take away our ability to do that great work? Maybe we can put this in the context of serving Love. Each day we set out to serve Love. (Here you may want to list ways that each child serves Love). What would distract us from doing that? Maybe it’s an obnoxious remark that a sibling makes, or a request for action by a parent that makes us feel resentful. Can we, in that moment, “choose good”, and stay on that “wall”, defending our thought?

The youngest children can make a “gate” out of their hands and decide together which thoughts they want to let into their gate, and which ones they close the gate to. You can fold these ideas into small pieces of paper and flick them toward each child one at a time, they will then shut their “gate” in time to shut out that thought, or open it wide if it’s a thought from Love.

No matter what we are doing in a day, we are serving Love!
Let’s really focus on protecting our work as servants of Love!
You could even give each child a cardboard sword with Bible or SH verses on the “blade” that they are going to use to defend themselves from error thoughts. This is not a great idea if you have spazzy little boys or girls in your class…

Have a wonderful week in Sunday School!

 

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