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Pycls: [Sift bad from good, unreal from real, fables from facts, like chaff from wheat. (#4)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson Ideas for Sunday School from the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson:

“Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?”
for Sunday, April 11, 2021

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

Pycl #1: [Show what "holding fast" to good looks like in Bible stories. Find truths to hold to to keep us from keep us safe from anger, sadness, illness, fear, and so on?]
Let's answer this question this week with the theme of goodness. All there is is goodness. If there is only good, then there isn't reality in something that isn't good, and we can all agree that sin, disease and death are not "good". There are several ways that we can try to address this idea of there only being reality in good, and we'll try to have a few of them in these Sunday School ideas!

Starting with the Golden Text, we can talk about what it means to "hold fast" to something. Come up with some synonyms. We might have fun thinking about holding on tight to something that keeps us safe. Perhaps we are holding onto a strong branch to keep us from falling to the ground a distance away! Or maybe we are holding to certain rules that keep us safe from traffic accidents.

What are the truths about Good that we are holding fast to that keep us safe from anger, sadness, illness, fear, and so on? Find some examples in the stories in this Bible lesson such as Jesus' healing of the blind men, or Paul and Barnabas and their adventures as examples. How do these stories show what "holding fast" to good looks like?

Paul's story is especially effective when you see that he actually went back into the town where he was stoned and then back to the towns where he was chased out to preach! Also, citation S27 includes Paul's quote from Romans about how we can never be separated from the love of God. P. 303:30-9 It is cool to notice that Paul wrote this even while in prison. So, it's a great example of the blessings of certainty that good is all there is, even when it looks different.

Paul’s life is an all-around-wonderful way to see the power of good. You can reference his imprisonments, beatings, (stoning in this lesson), snake bite, shipwreck and so on while always healing, preaching and moving forward with rejoicing! The evil in these stories never has the power, only the good.

Pycl #2: Set up a straight, narrow pathway to walk. Talk about benefits of staying on it. Perhaps this should be Pycl# 1b, but I love the reference to the "straight and narrow way".
This is a Bible reference again quoted in Mary Baker Eddy's work Science and Health, p. 151:26/citation S5. She tells us that the straight and narrow way is found in seeing and acknowledging that all of reality exists in Mind and Mind's idea (us!), and that all being is harmonious and eternal in that Mind! Show them where Jesus talks about this idea in Matthew 7:13, 14.

Now, if in person, have the kids walk a path that you set up. Have them pretend that there is a sharp drop-off on either side. They are perfectly safe if they keep their feet on that path, and no wind can blow them off, no one can push them. What might tempt them off the path? False promises. In our own lives what might those promises look like? Maybe those promises tell us that we'll have more friends if we do…. Or, we might think we'll get a better grade on a test if we… You get the idea.

But those are like falling down a nasty cliff. They always bring pain, sadness, misery. The narrow path might have its challenges, but they are healthy ones that bring inspiration, insight, joy, and so on. You can just make your path out of regular sheets of recycled paper or something across the floor if you are in person for class. Otherwise, show them pictures of a path from something online that is representative.

Pycl #3: Look at a fun Biblical directive for seeing and feeling the goodness of God!
How do we get so we see and feel the goodness of God? How can we find ourselves "in the presence" of good? Look at cit. B1/Ps 100:1,2,4. I see this as a directive. Discuss qualities needed to come into his "presence", "courts", "gates". Some of them listed are "serve the Lord with gladness", singing, gratitude, praise. List ways that we can do these things.

Why do these qualities bring us into His presence? Into the presence of good? How does that work? (One thing that is super clear is that when we are making a practice of gratitude we are actually acknowledging God's present goodness, right?! Anyhow, the idea that there are actual practices that help us feel ourselves, see ourselves in the presence of God, the ultimate source of good, is really fun!

Pycl #4: [Sift the fable about you from the facts, bad from good, unreal from real, like chaff from wheat.]
Sifting good from bad, and understanding that "bad" is like that chaff that blows away in a breeze, is really helpful. Show the children pictures of Bible-day sifting chaff from wheat. If you are in person, or, really you could demonstrate this online, show how wheat and chaff used to be separated.

You can toss, for example, rice in the air over a plate. Set up a fan to represent the wind, have a little flour or something very light mixed with the rice to represent chaff. It might be a little messy, sorry. But this should give them a sense of how the lack of substance in the chaff lets it float away, leaving the substantial "wheat" behind. How is this representative of the subject we have here this week?

Discuss this separating the chaff and wheat analogy in light of Section 4 and the story of the woman who is caught in the act of adultery and brought before Jesus. Isn't it cool how Jesus also blessed the men who wanted to trick him and cause him to judge this woman? He helped them with this judgmental view of sin and sinner too!

Pycl #5: A great analogy that is used in cit. S15/480:29-2 is vapor disappearing before sun. Discuss the idea of sun burning away fog. Think about the lack of "substance" in fog and how it can only hide the sun, not remove it from the sky!

You can also bring in a compass and talk about how the compass will always show you where you need to go, even when the sun isn't in the sky! Liken this to how God can guide us no matter what the circumstance! Sailors often have to find their way—in the old days—with a compass! You could even give them each a compass as a representation of this idea.

Likewise, with the analogy of light in a dark room, where does the dark go? Can dark "take over" light? Think about these ideas as they apply to times when we feel ill or afraid. Illness being like fog or dark, for example.

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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