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PYCLs:  Set your “mind” on Spirit. (1)  Be set free from feeling separate from God. (2)  Be at peace outside the “storm” of a “mind” separate  from Love. (3) Act out the story of Lazarus (4) Keep “proper ward over mortal mind” (5)
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

for Sunday, November 12, 2023

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

PYCL #1: Setting our “mind” on Spirit.

This lesson is full of views of how we can work to lift our seemingly separate “mind”, “mortal mind”, out of its dream of self and into the truth of the one Mind. Our Golden Text gives us a great way to start this process. “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6 Revised Standard Version)

Have the children draw a picture of something silly using colorful markers or crayons. It could be a bright red, polka dotted cat, or a purple elephant with stripes, or an upside down flying house. Just have them make it simple and silly and quick. Now have a little chat about how our human “mind” kind of leads us around unless we are really wide awake to Truth’s presence. Sometimes it’s no big deal, we are just doing our thing, playing with Legos or whatever.

But then we get kind of focused on something that isn’t from God, like getting mad at our sibling, or saying something mean to a classmate, or not listening when our teacher or parent asks us to do something. When this happens, we no longer feel the peace that we maybe felt when we were playing with our Legos, or drawing pictures, or playing tag. Read the Golden Text and talk about what it means to “set the mind on the Spirit”. What does that look like? What does that feel like?

Now ask them to look at one of the pictures they drew, you can hold one up. Have them all look, then put the picture down and have them close their eyes. Tell them not to think about that picture of the purple elephant. Be silly, and say it over “I want you not to think about that purple elephant!–are you all doing this?” Of course, that’s all they can think about! Hopefully they will laugh with you.

This is a little, silly example of how mortal mind works. It focuses on something either silly, or just magnetic, like our temper or hurt feelings, or our discomfort, and then magnifies it until that’s all we think about. Now talk about how we would change that so that we can think about Spirit. I think we would have to replace our silly picture. We’d have to thoroughly think about something true and good. In Sunday School that may be just thinking about how silly and happy and fun it was to draw and laugh over that picture. Isn’t that God’s love, Mind’s intelligence, Soul’s creativity in action?

We aren’t going to ignore our human thoughts. But we can overcome them by honestly sitting down with them (when they are a little older), and confronting the “why” of our feelings and thoughts. Then finding out what their opposites are, and how they link to the truth, or the Christ in that moment. With the littles, we can just keep it simpler and talk about the joy we might feel laughing over the pictures.

PYCL #2: How does Truth/Christ/spiritual honesty set us free from feeling separate from God? (Rom. 7:12,14,15,18,20-25 (to;);8:2)–Responsive Reading

This would not be an easy one with littles, but you could certainly approach it with some simple ideas like: “what happens when you are called by mom or dad to clean your room and you are in the middle of playing something and you don’t want to stop?” Then you can talk about the argument (that you would need to explain in simple words rather than reading this passage) that Paul describes, between our mortal mind and our spiritual consciousness.

If they ever watched Pinocchio, the Disney movie, they might think of it as their “conscience”, like Jiminy Cricket.  (I suspect that this is not a movie that is watched much today) … Of course, the voice of God is not a “human” conscience, or a cricket, but it does speak to us about what is good and right. Are there reasons we don’t hear it? Yes!

When we want to do or think something else, we can ignore what that voice is telling us. The cool thing is that this voice is our immortal Mind, God, and it is always there, always voicing truth to us. We just don’t hear it when we are very willful about something, or very afraid. Something to think about with children. Maybe you can come up with examples from your life that will be meaningful so that this doesn’t stay in the realm of imagination.

With the older children, it might help to find it in another translation for clarity, but you will want to do this carefully ahead of time because the more modern translations, while clearer, also focus heavily on sin and man as a sinner. You can pre-select some of these verses that are really helpful and address “sin” as “that which makes us feel separate from God/Love/Truth”. This is the most helpful definition I’ve found. Nothing can really separate us from Love, but when we are not listening to our inner, true voice, we tend to feel separated. And then we tend to make choices that make us feel even more separated.

To me, the important thing about this entire Responsive Reading is the way it addresses what everyone has felt at one time or another, maybe many times…That we know what is right, but we struggle to put it into action. What makes this happen? Is it “us”? Are we “sinners” by nature? Paul helps us by describing the “new man”. But the final sentence in this responsive reading is key: “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” It is spiritual honesty, the Spirit of truth/Christ, that sets us free from this “back and forth” between sin and obedience. Once you have discussed this, you can look at our human progress through this lens of truth. What are we really doing with our study of Christian Science? We are looking for truth/Truth–that which Jesus embodied as the Christ. In finding glimpses of Truth/Christ, the peace, health, joy, harmony, that we are seeking, is revealed to us. Truth sets us free from the lies and arguments of “mortal mind”.

PYCL #3: Outside the “storm” of a separate “mind” from Love.

Read or tell the story of Jesus asleep in the boat that is filling with water and being tossed around on the sea. Imagine together and have a child curl up on a big pillow that you bring. Think about a huge, scary storm in an open fishing boat. Water is filling the boat and it is being hurled up and down by huge waves. It looks like the boat will fill with water and sink, or capsize. Can you really sleep through this???! Did Jesus really sleep through the storm because he wasn’t afraid? Or….was his experience totally different than that of the disciples in the boat? They woke him, and he “stilled” the storm. But maybe he wasn’t really in that storm. Maybe that storm was a reflection of the thoughts of others and we can actually experience peace, really feel peace in any circumstance, literally. My feeling is that Jesus wasn’t  “sleeping through” a storm. He simply wasn’t in one at all. He was resting in spiritual reality. Humanly, we can’t just sleep through cold waves of water washing over us, and a rolling, tossing sea. It’s not that Jesus only calmed a metaphoric storm either. That storm was perfectly real to human sense.

How does this apply to us today? Can we experience peace in the midst of storms? Mary Baker Eddy certainly thought so. You can see it in her poem “Satisfied”/”It matters not”. We used a verse from that at CedarS Camps last year as our theme: “storm or shine, pure peace is thine”–“Peace, storm or shine”. Think about this together.

Find examples where each of the students can bring peace to a storm.
It can be a circumstance where people are not getting along.
Or, it can be in our own thoughts when we are feeling stirred up about something!
Have some examples of your own to share so that it isn’t just made up circumstances.
When we are at one with the one Mind, we experience what God/Mind is doing!

PYCL #4: Act out the story of Lazarus (John 11:1, 3-5, 32-34, 39-46, 53)

This is a fun one to act out if you have never done this with your class. Bring in strips of cloth or toilet tissue. Read or tell the story and share spiritual ideas about why it is in this lesson, or what it might be saying to us today. Why was it an especially important healing for Jesus? Look at the passage included after it from John 12:10, 11. In this story it tells us that many people realized that Jesus had to be the Messiah after this healing, it was so impressive. This further inflamed the Church officials and led them to try much more sincerely to kill Jesus, to try to end his ministry.

Why did the truth that Jesus raised a man from the dead make the Pharisees and Scribes so angry? It’s an interesting question.
Do we get angry sometimes when we are confronted with a truth about ourselves, when someone else’s actions make us feel like we aren’t as good? How can we change that feeling?

Talk about the burial winding cloth that Lazarus was wrapped in. While this was customary, can the children think of what it might represent (if they are a little older)? Might it be the limited thoughts that people had about the Christ—who the Christ was, what it represented, and how powerful it is to heal?
Do we limit Christ, truth today?
How can we “loose” our thoughts from limited mortal thinking, and give ourselves freedom to live more spiritually?

Now let one of the kids be wrapped in the windings you brought. Act out the story and have someone “free” Lazarus from the windings. You can really focus in on all the aspects of the story too. You can discuss Martha’s and Mary’s doubts.
You can look at how Jesus expressed gratitude ahead of time for the healing.
Have some fun with it!

PYCL #5: Keep “proper ward over mortal mind” cit. S11/234:17-18

I wonder if this can be a fun way to act out the idea of watching our thoughts? I like the imagery of a “brood of evils which infest” and of “clearing” them out.

You can ask them to imagine cleaning out an old house that hasn’t really been lived in for a long time. We might have to get out the brooms and sweep the ceiling, walls, and floors to get all the spiders and dust and such, out of the house to where they belong…outside. (I’m not trying to equate spiders with “brood of evils”…just trying to search for an analogy).

The reason a house might gather such dust and spiders is because it isn’t being “lived in” or “watched”. Talk about how we can watch our thoughts and sweep out such ideas as impatience, temper, lying, disobedience…or whatever you choose to talk about.
Have the children mime “sweeping” out such thoughts.
Or bring a broom and have them do it that way, broom in hand.

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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