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PYCLs—“LIONS” WE FACE (2) THE REAL POWER OF LOVE (3)
CedarS PYCLs, Possible Younger Class Lessons, for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson:

 “Love”
for July 31, 2022

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


PYCL #1: WHAT ARE YOU ADDING TO YOUR ONGOING SYNONYM PROJECT?

Past projects have included mobiles with each synonym as a “branch” and qualities for each hanging from each branch. A synonym “train” with cardboard “box cars” filled with slips of paper with qualities for each synonym, the synonym name on the side of each “car”.
We have tried ornaments (could be hung on a Christmas tree, or just anywhere) with the synonyms and qualities painted on them.
We could do a decorated mug with all the synonyms on it, or one each with qualities. There are many ideas that could be fun to explore with a synonym study.


PYCL #2: WHAT “LIONS” DO WE FACE?

Tell or read the story of Daniel in the lion’s den from Dan. 6. This is a favorite for most children. What do they like about it? Maybe it’s because it has lions in it, or the gruesome idea that someone could be locked into a pit with hungry lions? Or maybe it is the idea that faithfulness to Love renders us safe when we are faced with a challenge.
If the students are old enough, ask why this story might be included in a lesson on Love?
They might think about the idea that Daniel loved the lions, or maybe even loved the people that got him thrown into the den?
But ultimately this is about Daniel’s deep love for Good, for God, for Love itself. It tells us that when we are faithful to this kind of love we can expect protection, not from a challenge, but from harm.
Because some younger children do not yet pick up symbolism, you can share some ideas about what the lions might represent in our lives today. After all, we are not likely to encounter hungry lions when we break a rule right?
Start the ball rolling by suggesting that perhaps one hungry lion that we might face is that we are powerless against evil— that someone who lies about us or does something unkind has more “power” than Love.
Maybe another hungry lion is the fear and discomfort we face when we aren’t feeling well. After coming up with some representative modern day “lions”, spend a few minutes thinking about how we might pray to “shut the lion’s mouths”.

The citations from Science and Health from this section, tell us that it can be a wrestling match with whatever the challenge might be. (S7/567:3-6 Truth)
And this is followed by 514:26-31. “All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible.” This is a passage that can be put to use in our daily lives for conflicts with wildlife and domestic life of all kinds. What a statement!! Do you have an example of healing from using this passage? Maybe it could even be put to use in terms of a virus or a bacteria…not sure those qualify as “creatures”, but the harmless part and the “shaking off” part, as Paul did with the viper, seem applicable?
Could the lions represent the way that mortal mind seeks to eat our confidence, our sense of worth, or a freedom of some kind?

With youngest children, consider making paper cutouts of lion faces and have them ready to tape to your Sunday School wall. Perhaps one lion could be labelled a mortal quality like “vengeance”, while an arrow can point from that lion’s face to one next to it that is titled “moral courage”, or “forgiveness”. Each lion that has an erroneous quality can have another lion that is the counterfact to that quality. (Hatred could point to Love, fear to safety, and so on).


PYCL #3: WHAT IS THE REAL POWER OF LOVE?

Maybe the youngest aren’t ready to discuss this aspect, but it is important to distinguish Daniel’s faithful worship of God from some kind of dogmatic rule following. Clearly he genuinely communed with God. He was devoted to God not out of a blind belief, but because he had experienced God’s saving Love and care sometime in his life. (Feel free to find other stories about Daniel to back this up).
In the same way, we too must have reason to trust Love. We find these reasons by demonstrating Love’s care in our daily lives. How do we see divine Love expressed in our day to day lives? Usually it is helpful to use, as an example, the way our parents love us and care for us. We know they love us. How? Have the children list the ways that their love is shown. It could be such things as hugs, making food, reading to us, taking us to things we like, keeping us safe. And sometimes it can be limiting our use of devices, or telling us that we aren’t allowed to do something else!

We know our parents love us because we see evidence of it every day. Now consider whether we are just as aware of Love’s action in our lives? Perhaps we can begin with identifying that our parents are actually only reflecting God’s love back to us. Just like the moon has no light of its own but reflects the sun, so all genuine, lasting love is a reflection of the Love that is God! So our parents’ love for us, is evidence of God’s love! But there are other proofs if we take time to look for them. What about a beloved pet? Doesn’t that pet reflect this same Love, loyalty, joy, energy and so on? Isn’t that evidence of God’s love for us? What about the beauty that we see around us? What about a friendly sales clerk, or a loving counselor at camp?

When we start to become really familiar with Love surrounding us each day, we start to feel the kind of gratitude and trust that Daniel felt. He was genuinely unafraid because he truly knew that Love was caring for him, the way the children in your class might know that when they go home from Sunday School that day, they will be fed and cared for. This kind of knowing gives us the true moral courage to do what we know is right without fear.


PYCL #4: WHY DIDN’T DANIEL JUST OBEY THE DECREE BUT WORSHIP GOD IN HIS HEART?

I used to wonder this as a kid, as well as how this worked in the story of the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace. Doesn’t God know if we love and trust no matter what our silly human actions? After all, we know that God isn’t a “being” that takes action against us if we are “unfaithful”, but divine Love, conscious Being. We are one with that Being and consciousness, so it isn’t as if a human action such as bowing down to a silly idol, or pretending not to worship God for a bit, will change the action of divine Love…So why this blatant, public obedience, what is that about? These are stories meant to teach us something, so there must be a contemporary reason for the way that Daniel and others in the Bible behaved. It may be more a question of what we are trusting to save and heal and provide us with happiness in our lives, than it is a question of blind obedience (or dogma, as mentioned in pycl #3).
To what or whom do we look for help or a solution when we come up against a challenge?
Where do we turn immediately?
Do we turn right to Love, knowing that there is an answer, even if we don’t know what it is? Or do we quickly ask mom, dad, friends, and go in circles in our own thought before it occurs to us to pray?
When we feel naturally connected, or one with divine, conscious, Being, we don’t feel the need to follow any material “decrees” whether worshiping a silly idol, a king, or a social rule of dress, or demeanor.
Rather we, like Daniel, know that Love is motivating all that is power and truth in the universe, and that our conscious acknowledgement of this fact brings us freedom that we cannot really imagine.


PYCL #5: WHAT DO THE CHILDREN THINK OF THE LAST TWO CITATIONS IN THE RESPONSIVE READING?

1st John 4:20-21 Have they ever felt like they hated someone?
Why can’t we love God if we hate someone? What if someone seems like a really bad person?

You could combine this study with Section 3 where Zacchaeus, the tax collector is healed and redeemed through Jesus’ message of love. Divine Love corrects man.
Are we the ones who decide if someone is worthy of Love’s compassionate correction and care?
What if we don’t see any change in someone that seems bad? Is there a way that we can see things as Jesus did?
This also hearkens back to what we were talking about in Pycl #3 about understanding Love in order to worship Love. If we can truly understand Love’s creation, without false judgement, opinion, hatred, resentment and so on in our hearts, then we can glimpse something of the infinitude of God’s love surrounding us.
Talk together about ways to learn to “love our neighbor as ourselves”, what does that involve?

Have a wonderful week in Sunday School!

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