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PYCLs: 1) CONTINUE THE MOBILE IDEA. 2) HOW DO THE CHILDREN DEFINE CHURCH? 3) BRING IN A ROCK & TALK ABOUT CHURCH’S FOUNDATION. 4) SPIRIT IS FRESH AIR— BRING A FAN.  5) SPIRIT IS ALERT AND WATCHFUL!
P
ossible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

 “Spirit”
for February 6, 2022

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


PYCL #1: CONTINUE THE MOBILE/TRAIN IDEA. 

The previous couple of weeks we have been working on a synonym activity for the younger children. Again, here is the link to that activity if you need it:  https://cedarscamps.org/inspiration/article/pycls-1-make-a-synonym-mobile-2-how-is-truth-like-a-rock-3-why-no-bible-lesson-on-principle-4-bring-a-flashlight-5-what-does-it-mean-to/

What qualities are we going to add to define the synonym “Spirit” more clearly? Is it how we hear God–how we are moved by God? Is it how we are inspired by God? Is it the way that Christ speaks to us and heals us? Can we describe how we feel when we notice Spirit in our day?

There is certainly a sense in several of the sections of this lesson that we need to persist in demonstration in order to understand and feel Spirit’s presence. What is the opposite of Spirit? Look at the Scientific Statement of Being together if the children don’t have a good answer for this question. If matter is the opposite of Spirit then what are some qualities that speak to Spirit as matter’s opposite? How about limitless, infinite, eternal, inspired, free? You can write these words on whatever you are using as parts to your mobile, or on slips of paper or other “cargo” in your “train cars.”

I like the idea too of the way that Spirit “moves” us and how that can translate into a mobile or train that moves! You can compare the way that a mobile is moved by passing air and think of God’s “breath” as Spirit moving us, inspiring our thoughts and actions. A train is moved by an engine, but we could think of that as symbolic of the energy and life of Spirit.


PYCL #2: HOW DO THE CHILDREN DEFINE CHURCH?

This would be fun to think through this week with this lesson’s deep focus on church. Children of any age but the tiniest will have some idea of how they think of church, even if it’s just: “where we go on Sunday.”  Aim for honesty without trying to guess what they think about church & attending Sunday School.

As an adult I might ask what church is based on: personality? Good music? Great readers? Conservative or liberal thought? These ways of defining church get in the way of making church successful, and some of them are even addressed in the letters this week from Revelation to the churches.

Maybe just think together about what church is built on. Go to cit. S5/583:12-19 for Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of Church and see if there is anything in there about “brick and mortar”?
Is there anything in that definition that could make us unhappy, bored, impatient, angry?
What does it tell us that Church does? Make a list.

Now have the children share with you their ideal of church/Sunday School.
What would it look like, what would we do inside it, would there be an inside?
Can they draw it? Do they need to/is that important?
What would an ideal Sunday School class be (nothing is off the table!).

Come prepared to start this off with a description of your own ideal church.  Would it be mostly outdoors, in a park, would it be a church that moves from place to place?
Would it have bird feeders outside the windows? Maybe it has a stream running through the building? Would the services/Sunday School classes be somehow different from what they are where you are teaching? If so, how?


PYCL #3: BRING IN A ROCK AND TALK ABOUT THE FOUNDATION OF CHURCH.

This gets at a detail of PYCL #2. Along with Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of Church we can go to Section 3 cit. B12/Mat. 16:13-18 for the story of Jesus appointing Simon Peter as the “rock” beneath his church. This means that the solid ground, the rock that supports all that is good about church, is healing (the recognition of the mission of Christ). Read the story together and help them understand the symbolism behind this idea of “rock”.

Why does healing give us a solid foundation for church? What does it have to do with the subject of our Bible Lesson? In cit. S13/138:6-15 it tells us that “The supremacy of Spirit was the foundation on which Jesus built.” This ties right into the idea that healing is the “foundation” of church because this is the example Jesus left for us. Why a rock?

Hand them the rock and have them describe its qualities. It is hard, durable, doesn’t erode easily, heavy, dependable, strong—some of these are synonyms, but you get the idea! How do these rock-like qualities build a good foundation for church?

Look at what Jesus declares to Peter: “…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” What are “the gates of hell”? Isn’t that anything that would tear down our love of church (“the structure of Truth and Love…”etc.)?

If we plant our lives on the rock that Christ represents, and heal every day to the best of our understanding, then nothing can shake our foundational structure, not even death, which is sort of the ultimate representation, humanly, of hell. Think together about how the Christian church ended up flourishing after Jesus passed, once the disciples figured out that nothing could destroy his mission, not even his crucifixion.

We too can remain steadfast when things get tough by remembering our need to demonstrate as Jesus did over the suggestions of matter. You can explain this with the last sentence of Mary Baker Eddy’s statement from cit. S13/138:14, “The Supremacy of Spirit was the foundation on which Jesus built.” What does that mean? How do we see more of that supremacy in our own experience? By active demonstration. And, again, it is important to define this demonstration, because it is not just healing sickness or injury.

This active demonstration of supremacy means loving others when it is hard, being focused and polite when we don’t feel inspired to do that. It is working hard when that is required, without complaint or feeling put upon. It is obedience when we would rather do other things. We can notice every time we willingly and peacefully refuse to react to our sibling’s annoying behavior and see that as demonstration. These examples, and others, can be shaped for any age of student. Make sure that the rewards of this kind of demonstration are re-emphasized. Life is about joy, Spirit is about feeling inspired and good. Demonstration is challenging, but it is also the only way to feel a steadfast reward of good—the only way to steadily feel God’s presence.


PYCL #4: SPIRIT IS FRESH AIR — BRING A FAN. [See “FAN. Separator of fable from fact… SH 586]

Sometimes it can feel like we are surrounded by evil. Spirit can help us recognize what is really going on. When we are very sad, or struggling with being angry, we can “turn on the fan” of Spirit. You can demonstrate this with a small electric fan, or you can have the children make handheld fans by accordion-folding a piece of paper and pulling it together at the bottom. Explain that Spirit is sometimes referred to in the Bible as the “breath of God”.

When we turn our thoughts to Spirit under difficult circumstances we are “turning on” Spirit’s “air conditioning” or “warm air”—depending on the time of year! We cannot see the “air”—the action of Spirit in our lives—but we can feel its cooling or warming presence as it blows away our fears, our anger, our sadness.

When we turn to Spirit, rather than stewing in our feelings, we find the air around us getting “fresher”, easier to breathe. This is Spirit’s gift to us. Encourage the students to try this sometime when they are really feeling low. Even the act of physically going outside to breathe some fresh air can drag our thoughts away from the seeming power of evil and towards Spirit!


PYCL #5: SPIRIT IS ALERT AND WATCHFUL!

See citation B19/Mat. 24:43, 44.  If Spirit is as close to us as the air we breathe, then surely, we can be aware & alert to error’s temptations that would make us worry, be afraid, or again, be sad, angry etc.

Have the youngest children use their hands to represent gates or doors that open and close. Explain that these doors are like doors to our thinking and we want to only let in the thoughts that are “blown in” by Spirit. Talk together about what those thoughts are. Then play a game where they decide to open or close those “doors” depending on whether the thoughts come from Spirit or not.

With older children we can think about how to be alert, conscious, aware of Spirit, so that spikes of anger, hurt, sadness, don’t take us by surprise. It’s important to remember that these suggestions come to us in logical ways, in ways that disguise themselves to our thought as “reasonable”. It might come to us that “…of course we are irritated by our brother/sister, they are always annoying”.

When actually, if we are really “awake” and being on guard for these thoughts, we can see that they are not ours, but like the beginning of a Star Wars movie, they are “text” that is scrolling by and we are “reading”/accepting them as our own thinking. Wow! This takes a lot of practice and most of us still get fooled every single day, even us adults. But what a skill to develop!

Spirit can help us stay alert when we pause to ask whether our thoughts have their source in Spirit and then realize that if they don’t, we can starve them for air by not allowing them to be expressed. This is not “suppression” but alert recognition. We still have to see those thoughts, and notice that they are not powerful, that they are not ours. Then, we can breathe in that atmosphere of Spirit that inspires us and truly “blows away” those feelings of hurt, anger, or whatever would make us feel separate from the Spirit that is Love.

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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