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PYCLs— 1) FOCUS on the 10 Cs & 8 Bs. 2) GET OUT FLASHLIGHTS. 3) WALK IN the LIGHT to SEE GOD ALL AROUND. 4) MAKE a MIND “SYSTEM”, like a “SOLAR SYSTEM” 5)   OVERCOME DEATH NOW

CedarS PYCLs, Possible Younger Class Lessons, for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson:

“Probation after Death”
for April 24, 2022

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


 PYCL #1: FOCUS on Manual-based Sunday School SUBJECTS: the COMMANDMENTS & BEATITUDES.

With the very youngest classes, I can’t think of much in the way of discussing this subject head on. This would be a great time to focus on the Manual-based Sunday School topics of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, etc.

Unsurprisingly, without being direct, we really are talking about progress when we address these vital subjects. We are talking about how to find light, eternal life, and joy, when we really understand the purpose of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. They are the guiding light to all life, joy, harmony, insight, satisfaction, that is lasting! When we understand their spiritual intent and see beyond them as arbitrary “rules”, or “Thou shalt nots”, we experience how they can keep us safe, joyful, vibrant, wise. Of course, we will continue to have challenges.

Living is not an “agreement” between us and God: “I will follow Your rules if you will give me happiness, long life, and success”. Rather these rules help us make progress through the traps and temptations of matter that would snare us in seductive, but sticky webs that keep us bound to the ups and downs of material living. This includes the illusive suggestion that we can just be “good” people. (That’s a topic for a little bit older students!)

One analogy that I love is that these “rules” are really like protective fences around deep, dark, pits [or around thin places on an ice-skating pond]. When we follow these principles, look to understand their spiritual import, we are saved from falling into typical pits that really are completely avoidable. (As I said, not saved from all challenges, just saved from the challenges that come from our own willfulness–life is hard enough when we don’t make it worse by willfulness, right?) Probation here is about making spiritual progress by following the light of spiritual Truth and Love.


PYCL #2: GET OUT YOUR FLASHLIGHTS.

With such a strong focus on light in this lesson, there is an obvious role for flashlights here. Talk about how flashlights are useful in the dark and ask the little ones if they have ever used one at night, camping, or otherwise.  Talk about specifically what they do (it sounds obvious, but if they are little this is really helpful). They light things up! They reveal things! They help us not to stumble and trip over things. They help us “understand” our surroundings.

Flashlights can be seen from far away on a dark night, so they can guide us. Similar, they can help us choose which path to follow. They can keep us from getting lost. As an adult you can see that much of this can be symbolic, that won’t hit the younger set yet, but we can kind of lean in that direction and draw the connection that the light is like how God, our Shepherd lights our way for us. Especially if you have worked with some of the Ten Commandments or the Beatitudes, you can help them think of these as like “flashlight beams” guiding us to really experiencing the presence of God.

Of course, if you have a dark room where these ideas can be illustrated, even if it’s a utility room, you could bring the children there with their flashlights and have them try shining them, one at a time as you speak of these ideas.


PYCL #3: SEE GOD AROUND YOU THROUGH WALKING IN THE LIGHT.

Light makes it so we can see the beauty around us. Even beauty at night is only visible to us as light. It could be the light of stars, or the moonlight that illuminates things in the dark. In the same way, as we “walk” through life with the desire to understand and express as much of Love or Truth, or Mind, as possible, we tend to see the beauty of God around us.

Noticing the good around us is one of those things that yields “compound interest”. The more we see and recognize all the good and beauty around us and attribute it to infinite Love, the more of it we see, and the more secure we feel about Love’s government, presence and guidance, as well as healing power. The Responsive Reading this week is so beautiful in illustrating this. “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” To me this means that we can literally see God’s goodness here and now, not only in some “future heavenly destination”. (As Jesus told us “The kingdom of God is within you.”)

Take a walk with the children, around the yard or parking lot, or wherever you have space. Look for beauty, talk about how Soul/God reflects beauty and light. It could be a blade of grass pushing up in sidewalk cracks, or the shadow of a fence. It could be the rain sliding down a window, or the sound of birds singing. It could be a bright-red car that is driving by.

There are literally infinite ways that beauty can be found. Share how these things are hints of the great beauty that Soul is always radiating and expressing—that this beauty includes each of them. If they are very young, you could give them each a mirror at this point and talk about how they, too, are part of that beautiful expression of Soul and each one reflects Soul’s beauty.


PYCL #4: MAKE A MIND “SYSTEM”, LIKE A “SOLAR SYSTEM” BUT WITH MIND…

Check out citation S6/209:5-8 where it says that “Mind, supreme over all its formations and governing them all, is the central sun of its own systems of ideas, the life and light of all its own vast creation; and man is tributary to divine Mind.” Draw a simple picture of the solar system with planets on elliptical paths around the central sun. With the youngest, explain how the sun, even though it is more than 93 million miles from Earth, an unimaginable distance, keeps earth, and all the other planets in our system revolving in a stable orbit. We never fly off course! We are drawn to the sun by an irresistible force.

Then we can help them see this as an analogy to how Mind is at the center of all creation with an irresistible force that keeps us drawn in tight to intelligence, to thoughtful government, wisdom, stability, order and so on. Draw some “systems” with Mind at the center. Put each student in an orbit around Mind (we are really one with Mind…but this is fun to look at draw). Fill the page with qualities that are drawing us toward Mind…keeping us in a stable orbit. Try this with other synonyms!


PYCL #5: WE OVERCOME DEATH NOW. 

It might be interesting with slightly older children to talk about the fact that we experience death often, just not the kind that we are familiar with as “death”. Each time we change a year in school could be considered the “death” of one grade and the birth of a new one. Some of these transitions are bigger “deaths” than others—such as graduating high school or college.

On a smaller, daily scale we have the “death” of a day, the “death” of an activity, it’s a kind of “death” when we lose one friend and make a new one. When we change our address by moving from one house to another, or change schools, each could be thought of as a “death”. So, we need to get good at overcoming that sense that death is something we face “way down the road”. This way we can start overcoming our fear of death!

Little children generally aren’t really consumed with that fear, and there is no need to introduce it as something to fear here! But we start now to overcome smaller versions of this fear by talking about how, when we are held in an unchanging “orbit” of Mind (see Pycl #4), we may change houses, or activities, but these are just changes that bring freshness, newness, growth. They are not fearsome!

We don’t need to feel loss when a session of camp ends because what we have gained at camp/school/home are all permanent joys and qualities that stay in that same “orbit” with us forever. The only thing that truly changes is the richness of our experiences as we add one to the next and take note of how Mind is governing each one.


Have a great week in Sunday School!

 

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