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PYCLs: Share how when heat is applied and air (error) is sealed out, good is preserved! (#1)
Possible Younger Class Lesson Ideas for Sunday School from the Christian Science Bible Lesson:

“God the Preserver of Man”
for Sunday, December 13, 2020

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

Pycl#1: Discuss canning, “feeling the heat” and not allowing the suggestions of evil any "air" to breath!
I always enjoy opening this Bible lesson in Sunday School with a discussion of what "preserve" means. Then, we work our way into the idea of preserves as jam! Who doesn't like jam, right?! Last Sunday I got a jump start on this week's lesson with one of my sons and we discussed this idea fully. Why do we have to cook/heat fruit (could be pickles, tomatoes etc.) with sugar to get it to last in a jar? What are we sealing out of the jar? What does the heat do? (Can you bring this into a symbolic representation of challenges in our lives? Have they heard the expression "there's a lot of heat being put on me to solve this problem…?" It's a bit like the term "pressure". Or someone might say they are taking "heat" for a decision they made. How does this seem parallel to the process of heating the fruit and sugar to kill bacteria, to fill out the flavor, blend the sugar, make the texture right, and so on. There are plenty of analogies!

Finally, the process of canning it, or putting it in jars and sealing out the air. This is vital for the bacteria to not get in, and it also makes it a sterile environment and it will last indefinitely without refrigeration as long as the seal holds. This, we can liken to the idea of not allowing the suggestions of evil any "air" to breath! How do we do this? One way is to not give a voice to evil. We can really work to voice only good! We made a whole quart of strawberry jam while talking about these ideas during Sunday School last week. It came out pretty tasty albeit a bit runny since we didn't use any pectin! If you are doing this virtually you could certainly still cook a bit, but it's up to you.

If you are in person, without a kitchen, try just bringing some jam and bread to share at the end of this exploration.

Pycl #2: Share cardboard "armor" for the kids to try. Write qualities on our cardboard armor.
I like the idea of bringing some cardboard "armor" for the kids to try. One big round piece for a shield, a small round one to wear on the forearm as a "buckler", maybe some shin guards. Keep it simple. You would need to use some elastic or string to attach the buckler, shin guards etc. And you could glue a handle of some kind to the center of the back of the shield so that it can be held.

Now check into the Responsive Reading, especially verse 35 of Ps.18 and B4/Ps.18:30. Part of the 91st Ps. is included in Section 2, you could look at a bigger selection of that Psalm, which may be helpful, as well.

Now talk about armor, what does it represent? How does God act as our "armor"? What about Mary Baker Eddy's statement in cit. S12/SH p.571:15 that "At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you." What does "clad" mean? What is the "panoply of Love"? How can we dress/arm ourselves in that? Once we have determined something about what it means to "know" ourselves, and what being "clad in the panoply of Love" means, we can put some of these qualities in writing on our cardboard armor.

Pycl #3: Create a list of actual ways we can do and embody good
The panoply of Love discussion fro Pycl#2 can lead us into thinking about citation S11/SH192:19, and cit. S19/SH 225:14-16, 21, 25. In each of these statements we are told that human power comes from our embodiment of good, and of right thinking. How do we embody good? How do we do good? What does right thinking have to do with this power?

You can also look at where it says in cit. S8/SH 83:6-9, that "Mortals must find refuge in Truth in order to escape the error of these latter days." What does it mean to find refuge in Truth/God? How does Truth (and truth) free us from error? I think it could be helpful to create a list of actual ways we can do and embody good in the week or weeks to come.

Now, why does doing and embodying good "preserve" us from evil or give us power over evil? That's a question that might be answered lightly with the younger audience, and dug into more deeply with the older. Literally, how does doing and embodying good give us power over evil? I have been giving this some thought over the last week or so as I wrote the metaphysical for CedarS for this week and felt compelled to answer that question for myself. I'm not sure my answer is definitive, but I do think that as we embody good, do good, we are demonstrating the science behind Christian Science, behind the active Christ that Jesus demonstrated in his healing work. This Christ heals and reveals health and safety all through the Bible. As we put this Christ, Truth into action, evil cannot have presence or power.

Pycl #4: Discuss Jesus walking through the angry crowd & Paul escaping the angry Jews in Damascus. Our Pycl#3 discussion can lead nicely into the stories in this week's lesson about Jesus walking through the angry crowd, and Paul escaping the angry Jews in Damascus. In both cases the seeming power of hatred, envy, rejection of Christ, is overcome by the good that these men embodied. As we mentioned earlier, God does not preserve us from the experience and depth we gain through human challenges (nor is God the source of challenges!), but man is preserved as we embody the power and presence of God through His Christ, demonstrating God's goodness among mankind.

Think together about the fact that people tried to kill Christ through crucifixion, and it didn't work (for the Christmas season you could discuss how Herod tried to kill Jesus when he was a small child/baby!). And Paul was persecuted throughout his mission to spread the Christ message. Yet, this Christ message was spread even farther and wider than anyone could have known, such that more than 2000 years later, this message is widely read, taught, and hopefully embodied today!! If that isn't human power then I'm not sure what is!!

Pycl #5: Discuss how slavery can come in forms that are graspable by children. i.e. sugary treats? Section 4 has a focus on slavery and freeing man from this evil. Since most of your Sunday School students will not have first-hand experience with what they might consider to be slavery, it could be helpful to think about what this could mean for us today. (slave trade is very much alive even today, I am not trying to ignore that, just, for the purposes of understanding that slavery can come in other forms that are more graspable by children, I am focusing on it more as mental slavery).

Can the children think of any ways that they might be a "slave" to something? Maybe it's sugary treats, or cell phones? One thing about this kind of slavery is that we have to actually desire freedom, or feel the weight of the enslavement in order to make healing progress and gain freedom! That is the trickiest part of slavery to any sin.

What does "glorious liberty" for us look like? Can we imagine feeling like we wouldn't even want to look at our cell phone, or check on things on our cell phone for hours at a time? This is not just a young person's challenge. Even us "adults" can have trouble at times not picking up our phones mindlessly!

You could also do a comparison between the yoke that oxen wear and how that causes them to pull together, to be controlled, and so on, with the way that Jesus tells us in Mat. 11:29, 30 that we should take his "yoke" upon us and learn of him…that his "….yoke is easy, and his burden light." Is he asking us to be slaves? Or is the work of doing and embodying good actually a kind of freedom or liberty?

Have a great week in Sunday School!!

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