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PYCLs:  PREPARE FOR ANGELS. (1)  WHAT IS A “PRESERVER”? (2) DOES GOD PREVENT US FROM EXPERIENCING CHALLENGES? (3) WHAT KIND OF ARMOR DO WE HAVE TO WEAR TO BE PRESERVED? (4) FIND ALL THE PLACES WHERE WE ARE TOLD THAT NUMBERS DON’T MATTER FOR SAFETY (5)
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“GOD THE PRESERVER OF MAN”
for Sunday, December 11, 2022

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


PYCL #1: PREPARE FOR ANGELS.

Angels are a fun topic with little ones. Ask them about what they look like. Likely they have drawn them, cut out cookies for Christmas in their “shape”, and sung about them in carols. Look together at Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of “Angels” in her Glossary of Science and Health p. 581 or look at p. 299 for some further statements about angels. You can make some of these statements into smaller sentences and words that are meaningful to very young children and have them memorize them. An obvious one is just to memorize the first sentence of the definition: “God’s thoughts passing to man”.
Give some examples of what this means in your life.
Can the children think of some everyday examples from their own lives?

I expect we will have some more angel appearances in the Bible lessons leading up to Christmas so maybe it would be fun to start noticing them now. This lesson has a few examples. If we substitute the definition from Science and Health for any place that angels appear, what will the references look like? For example, our Golden Text says when referring to enemies: “Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them.” “…let God’s thoughts passing to man, chase them.” This could be a great way to introduce one of the themes of this week’s lesson to the children if they aren’t super young.

There are two great stories of war time in Israel that ended very unconventionally. Read both stories with this angel definition in mind.
How does it apply to the thoughts/inspirations of the two great prophet leaders from these stories–Gideon and Elisha?
Wasn’t it angels/God’s thoughts, inspiration, understanding, that chased away both enemies in these two stories?

There were no battles that ensued in these two peacemaking examples. (Judges 7:2-7,21 & II Kings 6:8-17)
It would be helpful to fully read or tell both stories including, perhaps some of the surrounding detail that enriches their message. Especially important for this focus might be the completion of Elisha’s story where he leads the Syrian army to the King of Israel and has them fed and returned to their home.
Where was the combat or battle in these stories?
How did angels save them all? Can angels save us from conflict? (to even “thinking without strife” CedarS motto)

There are several mentions directly of angels in Section 4, but can they spot how angels are at work in Gideon’s story? How about Elisha’s?
Start an ongoing chart or picture of all the ways that angels [of spiritual sense] appear to us and look forward to how we can add to it as the weeks before Christmas arrive.


PYCL #2: WHAT IS A “PRESERVER”?

With the youngest ones you can review what it means to preserve I have done this in the past by bringing in a jar of jam, preferably one that is unopened so they can hear it “pop” when it is unsealed. Explain how something is canned or preserved. We lock out all the air that would allow bacteria to grow, keeping it safe for us to eat for a long time until we open it. In other words, we are not providing an environment where “evil” can prosper or grow. Talk about how we can do this in our thought.
Can we prevent any space or room for unkind thoughts, selfish, angry, sad, jealous, etc. thoughts, to grow?
How do we do this?
What do we need to fill our thought with in order to make it “inhospitable” to error?

Read together from Miscellany p. 210, that first paragraph.
You can certainly make this accessible to pretty young children.
Maybe you can bring up some beloved Bible characters like Daniel, Joseph, or Moses to illustrate how they filled their thoughts with good only.
Did they let in fear? Anger? Resentment over injustice?
Were those thoughts “justified”, humanly?
How do we set injustice or self-righteousness aside when we feel we are wronged?
What are we “losing” by setting aside feelings of self-righteousness?
What safety are we availing ourselves of?
This goes to the only-ness of God’s power. If we recognize any other “power” then we appear to “suffer” from it.
Daniel, for example, didn’t recognize the “power” of the king over the power of God!
Now break out the jam and share some bread and jam!


PYCL #3: DOES GOD PREVENT US FROM EXPERIENCING CHALLENGES?

The answer to this is pretty apparent, but it is kind of the elephant in the room when we are talking to Christian Scientists who often think that if we pray, nothing “bad” will happen to us.
Notice the examples in this lesson of enemy combatants surrounding countries or cities, or of the leprous man who asks Jesus for healing.
Consider examples of their favorite Bible characters and talk about the challenges they were faced with.
Joseph is a great one to mention. He was unjustly treated multiple times, yet ultimately he saved not only his family, but much of Israel through his eventual link with Pharaoh.
He did have a dream about this, most of the reason he was sold into slavery in the first place, but really, when we look at it from Joseph’s perspective, it could have seemed like a decades-long injustice.
Yet Joseph is described as having this very deep sense that Mind was always in charge of life, that his life had purpose and direction, even if he was not in the “driver’s seat”.
Maybe this peace came from the fact that he had enough opportunity to experience this injustice to know that actually he was never in that “driver’s seat” and this knowledge allowed him to fully listen to God, to Mind, for everything.

No, we are not prevented from having challenges by God. God is the law of Love that is unchanging justice, mercy, health. We are only opening our eyes to that presence, feeling and expressing gratitude for that presence — and through that process, we experience Love’s saving presence.


PYCL #4: WHAT KIND OF ARMOR DO WE HAVE TO WEAR TO BE PRESERVED?

This is a fun one with young children, especially on the heels of last week’s Bible Lesson story of David facing Goliath.
You can review that story by asking what armor David wore?
Was it effective? Is it armor that is available to us anywhere, anytime?

Look together at citation B5/Eph. 6:10 be, 11,14,15.
You can bring in some paper grocery bags and cardboard to make “breastplates”, “greaves”, maybe something that you put over their shoes that can represent being “shod with the gospel of peace”.
Talk about what this kind of preparation looks like in our daily lives.
What is the armor of God?
When we are “Clad in the panoply of Love”, we are told, hatred can’t harm us! (SH p.571:18-19).
How does this work?

Again, you may wish to look to the stories in this week’s lesson for answers. Look at the “God’s Word” Translation of the Bible for this Ephesians passage. It is really wonderful and may help the children to picture this more clearly.

God’s Word translation of citation B5/Eph. 6:10, 11,14,15.

10 “Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. 11 Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way you can take a stand against the devil’s strategies. (12 This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. 13 For this reason, take up all the armor that God supplies. Then you will be able to take a stand during these evil days.[a] Once you have overcome all obstacles, you will be able to stand your ground.) 14 So then, take your stand! Fasten truth around your waist like a belt. Put on God’s approval as your breastplate. 15 Put on your shoes so that you are ready to spread the Good News that gives peace.” (“God’s Word” version of Eph. 6:10-15)


PYCL #5: FIND ALL THE PLACES WHERE WE ARE TOLD THAT NUMBERS DON’T MATTER FOR SAFETY.

This is a fun pursuit! (Responsive Reading, Lev. 26:8; Ps. 3:6/cit. B2; Josh 23:10/cit. B9; 131:10/cit. S8, 392:7-8/cit. S17; Ps. 68:17/cit. B16) There are probably more, though, as the citations here from Science and Health show, they don’t all refer specifically to numbers.

How does this apply to our own daily lives?
Have any of the children ever felt like they were outside of a group of kids in class?
Have they ever felt like their understanding of right was in the minority?
Or, maybe it could be that they simply wanted to do an activity that was really wholesome and fun, but others only wanted to sit around and look at their phones? (I’m not likening phone watching as “evil” here, just pointing out the numbers issue).

Numbers are not power. Good is power.
It may not always look like this, (note our story of Joseph that we mentioned), but spiritual sense can help us discern our innate power from God when numbers seem overwhelming.
Please make note of instances here where numbers show up–the lack thereof– as in the stories of Gideon and Elisha!

Have a great week in Sunday School!!

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