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PYCLs— 1)  How can we be “ambassadors” for Christ? 2) Share the story of Saul/Paul. 3) Bring in some counterfeit money or counterfeit anything. 4) Only worship what you know!

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

“Mortals and Immortals”
for May 15, 2022

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


PYCL #1: HOW CAN WE BE “AMBASSADORS” OR “EPISTLES” FOR/OF CHRIST?

First of all, what do these words mean? You can find them referenced right in the beginning of the Bible lesson this week in our Golden Text and Responsive Reading (2Cor 5:20 and 3:3-6). Because this lesson is all about mortals and immortals, we can think about how Christ represents the true man, the only man. This seeming man that we call “mortal” man is like the Adam man that we read about last week.

So, we might think about how Christ communicates and might be able to speak to our spiritual sense or consciousness in such a way that we stop thinking in terms of material physique as our identity. In other words, we carry the message—are ambassadors— to mankind that our true being is spiritual, whole, joyful, energetic, harmonious, intelligent and so on.

An ambassador is “a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign state to another as its representative.”  In this case what does that mean for us as ambassadors for Christ? Make badges or name tags together, if you are teaching little ones, with some kind of made up symbol of their official position. Label each “ambassador for Christ” followed by their name. Explain how we might be able to demonstrate this role in daily life. What would we need to do? You can look together at what Jesus did, he was certainly the best ambassador for Christ that ever lived!

It also mentions an “epistle”, which is a letter (Paul wrote many!). (Ask them if they have ever sent a letter, what it looks like, why we write them, etc.) This verse tells us that it’s not a letter written with ink, “…but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” You can unpack this with any age in different ways.

With the very young you would explain that being a “living letter” would mean that in your heart, where you feel love, you would be expressing Christ by being kind, by helping out, listening to your mom or dad, listening for Love’s voice, healing people, and so on. With the older children consider together what “the Spirit of the living God” is. Whenever I see the word “living” connected with “God”, I think of how it expresses God’s activity, power, and action in our daily lives.

God is not removed or “out there” somewhere, but part of our daily being. This Spirit of God is the Christ coming to our consciousness, speaking to our heart, guiding us when we listen and are humble. This invigorates our true selfhood/immortal selfhood that is not dependent on physique. You can pursue this theme of spirit versus letter in the rest of the Responsive Reading, also from 2Cor 3:17,18 and 4:5,6. What does it mean to follow the “letter” versus the “spirit” of a law?
Jesus showed many times the pitfalls of following the letter of the law when he scolded the Scribes and Pharisees, and in many of his parables.


PYCL #2: SHARE THE STORY OF SAUL/PAUL.

This is such a great story to share on many levels with youngest to oldest. The youngest can learn who Paul was before he started preaching about Jesus and healing all over that part of the world.
Retell or read the complete story of Paul and his transformation to the students.
What was amazing about his life change? What was amazing about Ananias?
What was amazing about Barnabus?
Make sure they understand what Paul did before he had that vision outside Damascus.

Here is a link that has a fun map of all of Paul’s travels and some historical information about Paul. I did not fact check the article, so feel free to do so before sharing, but it syncs with historical information I have read and heard about Paul. https://travelatelier.com/blog/saint-paul-life-missionary-journeys/

Figure out the rough mileage of Paul’s walking and ship travels over his years of preaching and establishing churches. Remind the kids that there were not many means of travel, and Paul did not ride around in chariots or on horseback.
Why did he travel so much?
What was his biggest achievement? (Some of his travels were forced, and you can read the story of his shipwreck if you want.)
Would we have Christianity as we know it without Paul?
What can we do to be more like Paul?
Do we have to go around and tell people about Jesus?
Or can we show by example what we know about Love and Love’s goodness in our lives?

PYCL #3: BRING IN SOME COUNTERFEIT MONEY OR COUNTERFEIT ANYTHING.

Citation S2/476:1 (only), 4 and citation S3/267:19-22 mention counterfeits. I love the distinction that Kathy Fitzer makes in her CedarS Met this week about counterfeits: ” A counterfeit isn’t a failed real … it was never real!  Similarly, “mortals aren’t fallen children of God” (cit. S5, 476: 13-15). So, we’re not working to fix up a mortal any more than we’re trying to fix a counterfeit bill.  We are disposing of the false — putting off the erroneous mortal concept — so the real thing (the Christ ideal) is able to be seen (cit. S6, 430: 3-5)”

We aren’t trying to be “really good mortals” either! This is an important distinction. It is good and right to practice the Christian ideals from the Sermon on the Mount, everyone should do this, but to understand our immortal nature we must go beyond even this practice if we are to do the healing work of Paul or of Jesus or one of the disciples. We need to understand that man, as made by Spirit, is never contained in, or limited to physique.

Show the children the counterfeit item you brought into Sunday School. Even if it is unrealistic it can be used to illustrate some of the ideas you are talking about in this lesson.
What if what we are facing (sickness, injury, anger etc.) look very “real”?
Is it ok then to accept them as real?
Or, should we work as diligently as the professionals do in our country, whose job it is to discern between real and counterfeit money?
We can ask if what we are experiencing is from God. That’s a pretty good litmus test. If it’s good, it’s from God, if not, then it is a counterfeit.


PYCL #4: ONLY WORSHIP WHAT YOU KNOW!

In citation B15/Acts 17:22-25,28 we have Paul exhorting the Athenians to understand their God, and that God is understandable. As we read each Bible lesson in their order, it becomes so clear that the building blocks of Christian Science are a deep knowledge of God, and of man. We cannot have one without the other. They are intertwined and coexistent. This is not the generally accepted belief among Christians. Man, as reflection, is not much considered. We can talk with the students about their concept of God. Is God still a powerful “being” who decides to answer or not answer prayer, to heal or not heal us?

Consider the synonyms rather than the pronouns “he” or “she”. And consider each synonym in terms of a law. The law of Love means man is never left without care, comfort, healing. The law of Mind means man functions intelligently, with wisdom, inspiration, discernment. And so on…Talk about worship and why we would pray to any “being” that may or may not listen? That sounds an awful lot like a person rather than infinite, ever-present, Love! Review all the synonyms for God in this fashion and talk about how they help us understand God better than simply the term “God”. How do they help us to understand man?

Have a great week in Sunday School!!

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