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Pycls: Denounce the necromancy of hinging holiday joy on merely "reanimating" the past. (#1)
Possible Younger Class Lesson Ideas for Sunday School from the Christian Science Bible Lesson:

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced”
for Sunday, November 29, 2020

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

Pycl#1: Denounce the necromancy of hinging holiday joy on "reanimating" a past experience.
No matter the age group in your class, it is always worth discussing the title of this lesson. Can we put it in terms that are helpful in our day to day lives? For example, we can think of necromancy as depending on past experiences or nostalgia to move forward. Looking back at the "good old days" for a "repeat" of something that we once enjoyed.

This can be helpful in terms of holidays. Perhaps family has changed in a significant way, or a big move has taken place (or maybe just with the covid thing this year!). There is nothing wrong with little traditions, but if our happiness and anticipation of a joyful time hinges on something human not being subject to change, that is a form of calling on a memory to be repeated, kind of like speaking to the dead or "reanimating" a past experience. Far better we rejoice in the present "now" of any particular moment with God's presence always with us!

Mesmerism and hypnotism can be seen as the tricks of error to tempt us to be fooled into believing them. You can come up with some great examples of this from the way water appears to be on hot pavement, but is not— to how railroad tracks seem to come together in the distance. But this can also, more relevantly, come in the guise of a friend saying something unkind, and us being tempted to not be nice back. Their unkindness is just like those mirages! We do not have to be hypnotized by the statement, but instead can remember their true identity and hold them to that beautiful standard!

Pycl #2: Don’t be mesmerized by a false model of a friend that’s out of character with their true self! This leads us nicely to the passage in this week's lesson about the sculptor turning to his model. (Science and Health citation 11/p.248). What does this passage mean? Have some figures that are simple and some playdough that they can form into a small figure that you are showing them. Ask if they could form that figure out of playdough if they couldn't see it. We have to have a model in our thinking at least. Isn't this like what Jesus did for us?

Didn't Jesus give us a model to follow? Who else gives us models that we want to follow to have a happy, good life? If a friend does something out of character for them, says something unkind, can we think of this as not part of that model, just something we dismiss as not part of what they reflect? In this way we are not being hypnotized or mesmerized by a false view of our friend, a false model that might appear to our senses!

Pycl #3: Denounce the hypnotism of popularity that ends by being trapped in a "sticky" spot socially. Share the story of Absalom in Section 3 (cit. B11/2 Samuel 15:2-6). You could read up on Absalom and share a bit more about him, including how he was finally trapped in the fork of a tree branch and killed. Maybe this is symbolic of how we can be hypnotized by the idea of popularity and power— ending by being trapped in the fork of a branch—in a tight and "sticky" spot socially? Our feet are knocked out from under us, and we become vulnerable to things around us?

Discuss how, if we are not being alert to the way that error can trick us, we are easily fooled into doing that of which we are not proud. Notice in citation B12/Prov. 1:17, 20, we are told the obvious, that if we were trying to trap a bird, we wouldn't set the net out in plain sight, but would disguise it in some way so that the birds fly or walk into it. But we also find that God's wisdom speaks loud and clear to us "in the streets", right where we are. We can expect to hear this wisdom and discern the right action from the wrong!

Pycl #4: [Help your students avoid Absalom’s model of seeking popularity, trickery, gossip… ]
What did Absalom do to trick the people into following him? He convinced them that he alone was taking the time to hear their complaints and that if he were king he would address their problems!
He did this without David's knowledge. So, he was pretending to be helpful or good, but for evil purposes. (Do they know what his purpose was in listening to their complaints?) Can the students think of how this might happen in their experience? Have they ever seen a situation where someone did things pretending good, but actually in order to disrupt or wreck the good going on? Gossip often works this way!

Pycl #5: Give examples of hearing & voicing good—even in the midst of an argument, change or task. Since we are talking about not being fooled by error, we should also talk about how we can hear good. See citation S21/332:9-11 Christ, 19. How is Christ "voicing good" to man? How have we each heard this voice? Think of multiple examples in our daily lives where we hear Christ "voicing good". Have some examples to get this going.

Notice that Mary Baker Eddy tells us that the Christ speaks to the "human consciousness". I love this! It means that this isn't something distant or difficult to discern, but something good that speaks to us directly from Love! We can hear the Christ voicing good when we choose to yield in an argument with a sibling, or be flexible when some lovely plans have been changed, or when we help without being asked on any household task.

Pycl #6: Share examples of how Christian Science combats the hypnotism of injury, illness…
Also, feel free to share a story about how hypnotism works, there are plenty of examples such as being tricked into thinking you are drinking chocolate milk out of a water fountain. They might find this funny and intriguing—as well as illustrative. How is this similar to being fooled by an illness/injury, etc.?
How can Christian Science combat this kind of hypnotism?

Have a lovely Sunday School class!!

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