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PYCLs: Don’t be fooled into worshipping anything but God!  Define the title of this week’s lesson.  Look at all the Bible stories together and ask why they are part of this subject.  What are “popular gods”?

Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced”
for Sunday, May 28, 2023

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


This week’s lesson invites us to think about what it means to worship only God. Our Golden Text says: “…I am the Lord that healeth thee.” from Ex. 15:26 and our Responsive Reading from Deut. 6:4 and 14 (followed by Josh 24:2,14-17, 24 The Lord) tells us “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;” What are these gods? Back in Bible days they were made up gods which people created statues of, burned incense or sacrificed to.
Not many do this today, so what is the application of this idea today?
What are we worshipping without maybe realizing it?
Come with some ideas of things that are challenging you to share so that you can get the ball rolling.

Maybe the challenge is a too strong pull toward technology, an overly strong impulse to be with friends all the time without time for personal reflection, or maybe it’s the opposite challenge and you feel like you never want to step outside your comfort zone and just stay to yourself.
We might worship our bodies/appearance, in some way, or clothes, shopping, or in anything that consumes our thought beyond what is healthy or keeps our attention without consciousness or awareness.

Review the First Commandment and discuss how we can “Have no other gods” than the One.

We might consider that when we hold onto a “bad mood”, anger, resentment, even sadness sometimes, we could be “worshipping another god”.
What are the “…gods of the people which are round about you;”? What do we focus on that surrounds us? Maybe it’s not even something we personally really love, but because so many others are focused on it, we feel the pull to do so as well.

A kind of silly example: when I used to go to the mall sometimes, I would find suddenly that there were things I wanted that I had never thought about wanting. But if I left and went home, these things would fade away. If there was some desire that didn’t fade, then I knew that maybe it was something that I might really enjoy or need, rather than a passing desire that just made me feel like I needed it because it was placed there to do just that! Look together at citation B6/Deut. 13:6-8 (to;) Read it in a modern translation because it’s a pretty transparent statement that works today.
Can you think together of examples where this might be a challenge to us?


It’s fun to think about all these terms with the little ones. What do they mean? Necromancy is especially helpful to view as a longing for the past, or a clinging to past things, or the way that we used to do things.

We can counteract this belief by constantly acknowledging present good, and rejoicing in present good. We can recognize that nothing good can be lost, only bloom into other good things and activities.

Then you can think about hypnotism and mesmerism–how do we sometimes become over focused on things that make us unaware of what is true or real or substantial in our lives?
Are we so focused on what we find annoying about a sibling that we become blind to why we love them?
Or likewise, so frustrated with a mom or dad?
Are we hypnotised by our phones to the point that we aren’t participating with others in a “first person” way, when we have the opportunity to do so?
Are we overly focused on an accident or pain so that we find we can’t think about the Truth that is present?


Sometimes it’s really fun to consider how the stories were chosen for each lesson. With this week’s focus, have some fun with slightly older children, considering what each story contributes to our lesson topic.

With the younger children you can focus on each story without asking that question specifically, but highlighting the modern application of each story. For example when Jesus heals the man who probably suffered with mental illness in citation B2/Luke 4:14,15,17-19, 33-36, he had just announced to the congregation that he was the fulfillment of prophecy. Then he healed this man. How does this healing back up what he was preaching?

How can our actions back up what we say we love or believe deeply? Do we sometimes resist (like the man in this story) listening to the voice of the Christ when we are called to leave behind a trait or habit or behavior that isn’t Godlike? In the story in Matt.12:22-26, 28/cit. B11. Jesus heals a man who was blind and dumb. He is then accused of doing this through power other than God. Why did the Pharisees accuse him of this, why not rejoice in the good that he was doing?

Are we sometimes unkindly disposed to those around us who are doing things in a way that we might feel envious of?
Can we instead rejoice that each of us is given the full spectrum of qualities to reflect God’s goodness, grace, intelligence, and, in Jesus’ case, healing power?
Envy is a very mesmerizing sin! It really makes us feel miserable and bad about ourselves.

The story of Philip in citation B13/Acts 8:5-12 Philip , 14,15,18-22, 24 is another powerful healing story. Maybe this one is asking us to remember where our good comes from and not to follow the popular “gods” of fads that replace our love for and focus on Good, or unselfishness, or kindness, for example.

Finally we have Peter and John healing the lame man in citation B15/Acts 3:1,2,4,6-8 Silver . Perhaps this man saw himself as stuck in the past dream that he was born lame, nothing could be done.
Is this a kind of hypnotism, or even necromancy? I’m not sure about the second, but I do know that sometimes we get stuck in mental or physical injury that comes from a past event and think we are burdened with it for life. The Christ, Truth offers us freedom from simply “coping” with such challenges, (as this man was by begging).


In citation S16/347:14-17 Mary Baker Eddy talks about how “Christian Science takes away the popular gods,–sin, sickness, and death…” and how Christ destroys them. It occurred to me that this was why people (particularly illustrated in this section by citation B11) got angry about Jesus’ healing sometimes. What are the gods that are popular today, and are we unhappy about the opportunity we have to confront and heal our tendency to worship such gods when we see them in our lives? I think some things that currently have godlike status in society might be a lot of mental health issues, anxiety and depression to name a couple. This doesn’t mean that I am diminishing these very challenging issues at all. I am merely pointing out that their popular place in conversation, writing, media, and so on, keeps them very much on a pedestal that we can be mesmerized into accepting as normal and natural in our lives if we aren’t watchful. Such gods lead us into so much misery that we want to notice any resistance we might feel to uprooting them. Can you think together of some other popular gods that we might want to debunk?

Have a wonderful week in Sunday School.

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