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Listen ...UP! and Lighten Up! -- Application ideas for Mortals and Immortals

AJ Kiser and Amanda Dunlap
Posted Monday, November 7th, 2011

[Listen ...UP! and Lighten Up!]
CedarS Metaphysical Application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:
"Mortals and Immortals" for Novemeber 7-13, 2011
by AJ Kiser, CS 503-719-2652 and Amanda Dunlap, CS 707-225-2487
[AJ Kiser, PO Box 4925, Chico, CA 95927 ... Amanda Dunlap, 1165 Monticello Rd, Napa, CA 94558]
[Both AJ and Amanda graduated this June from Principia College (where they were elected to be very moving Baccalaureate speakers). This summer they both served as role-model counselors in CedarS Jr. Leadership program for high schoolers. After they helped CedarS host our annual Fall Bible Conference, they returned to California to work towards Journal-listing as full-time Christian Science practitioners.]
[Bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS Director and Met, PSST & PYCL Newsletters Editor]

[Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week, and the Possible Sunday School Topics (PSST) that will follow, are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free -- in English by Monday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French thanks to Pascal, in German thanks to Helga and Manfred or in Spanish thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio. YOU CAN SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]

 
There is a lot of materiality bombarding our thought in today's world.  Material sense is a whole lot of jibber-jabber.  It certainly has a whole lot of words coming out of its mouth, but what is it really saying?  This lesson addresses the topic of communication; more specifically the discernment between material sense and spiritual sense.  Our textbook states, "The intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man." (S&H 284:31)  What is it that God is communicating to man?  Are we striving to listen each and every moment of the day?  One thing that can be gained from this Bible Lesson on "Mortals and Immortals" is that the five material senses are communicating mortality, sin, disease, and death, while the divine Mind, God, is always communicating immortality, freedom, health, and life.  We have a choice of which to listen to. 
 
An excerpt from "Responsiveness" by Annie Knott:
"In the prophecy of Zechariah is a remarkable passage which has helped one Christian Scientist to understand the spiritual process that is needed in order to make human sense truly responsive to the divine.  It reads, "I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God." The preceding verse implies that two thirds of that which seems to constitute human consciousness,-its material beliefs,- will be consumed in the purifying process, by the fire of divine Love, and that then thought will be prepared to com­mune with God. This is made very clear by our revered Leader, who says, "Thought passes from God to man, but neither sensation nor report goes from material body to Mind. The intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man." (Science and Health, p. 284)  Our Master said, "I know that thou hearest me always"! If we are truly responsive to Truth and Love, we, too, can say this, and prove it, as did he, in the healing which shows that the loving Father is ready to respond to every call of the child who knows and loves Him."
Christian Science Sentinel - October 21, 1911
 
Golden Text
Demonstrate your immortal selfhood through upright thoughts and actions.  If you are truly immortal, then act like it!  Tell the truth, see the good in your neighbor, make time for God in your day.  This way, or activity, of righteousness is eternal, deathless, and it repeatedly bears fruit.  
 
Responsive Reading
God tells us that we are immortal, and all His creation exemplifies it.  Our job is to trust that what He tells us is correct, and prove it by demonstration so that we know it is correct. Mortal man lies about God and His creation.  God silences this liar and makes us hear only the voice of Truth.
 
Section 1:  The dying or the Indestructible, who are you listening to?
Who is it that speaks?  Does man, the creation, declare what he is made of?  Is the voice of the Creator absent in this debate of man's origin?  It only seems absent because mortal mind cannot hear it.  A question we can ask ourselves is, am I worshipping the creation more than the Creator?  Am I worshipping body, personality, money, politics, time, natural disaster, or fear by giving them power?  Mortal mind tries to make us too busy for God, too distracted to hear: "I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right" (B2). God has always declared out loud the truth about man, and we are learning to hear it better in today's age because we have the explanation of Christian Science, the method by which Truth is discerned. 
 
We find that "the grass withereth, the flower fadeth...surely people is grass...but the word of our God shall stand forever" (B3).  As we lose our false sense of life, the mortal and material, decaying and dying, we gain a greater understanding of our indestructible nature. We find that "loss [of mortality] is gain" (Hymn 207).  The book of Job is worth studying in light of this week's lesson.  Job's words at the end of this section (B4) demonstrate his transformation, through the trials of his life, from viewing himself as mortal to understanding his immortality in Spirit.  In an article titled "The Life of Job" from the Christian Science Journal, Sept. 1922, Samuel Frederick Swantees writes, "The book of Job presents, in logical sequence, the change of the con­cept of God in human conscious­ness from the mortal, imperfect, and scholastic to the immortal, per­fect, and scientific.  It brings out the impossibility of worshiping or ador­ing God, good, until our concept of God is perfect,-that is, logically and scientifically correct.  Ritualism and creed may fill humanity with fear, but they can never make any one adore God, much less love Him.  To adore God, He must be under­stood and esteemed as perfect, divine Being, the infinitude of Love.  This is the lesson Job had to learn in order to be healed; and this is the lesson the book of Job is teaching to humanity today" (Vol. 40, No. 6).
 
Section 2 Fight the battle (against mortality) and WIN (eternal life)! One with God is a majority!
It seems like a tall order to live up to Jesus' command, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (B8).  Yet Mrs. Eddy reminds us in this section that attaining perfection is not a matter of winning a battle between two conflicting laws-the "law of sin" and the "law of God" (B5), but rather, "the belief in sin and death is destroyed by the law of God" (S9).  Belief in sin and death cannot prevail against the power of Truth. However, a belief in God does not appeal to the law of divine Principle, either.  The understanding of the perfect Principle-perfect God, perfect man-is a power gained through conscious, daily progress Spiritward.  In the chapter Atonement and Eucharist Mrs. Eddy writes, "‘Work out your own salvation,' is the demand of Life and Love, for to this end God worketh with you." (S&H 22)  This truth, illustrating that the demand to work out our own salvation is coupled with our God-given ability to do so, can also be applied to Jesus' demand for his followers (us) to be perfect.  Yes, we are required to "seek Truth righteously," and to fight the battle between Spirit and the flesh (S10), yet we do not have to will ourselves to think the right thoughts and do the right deeds.  When we stop and listen for what Christ is communicating to us moment by moment, we find that our oneness with Love makes it natural for us to obey one God, one Mind, to reach out a helping hand or healing prayer to our neighbor, and to see ourselves and everyone around us as perfect, or Teleios, (original Greek) meaning "brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness."
 
Section 3 Intentionally relying on God
While reading this section I was reminded of Jesus' words, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth....  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...." (Matthew 6:19-20).  We certainly preach often that God is the source of our supply, but we also, with good reason, go to work each day for a paycheck.  Without abandoning our jobs, how do we begin to nurture the practice of relying on God more to meet our day to day needs?  One way I have began to practice reliance on God is in my morning routine, beginning with waking up on time.  I used to struggle with getting out of bed on time, and setting my alarm was not offering a solution to the problem.  I just wouldn't get out of bed when it would go off!  I continued to try to will-power my way into getting out of bed when my alarm went off, but with little success.  One day I thought, "I just cannot do this successfully on my own.  When God needs me up, He will get me up."  My prayer was to rely on God to effectively wake me up in the morning, even on days with consequences for sleeping in.  The more important it was to be out of bed on time, the stronger my reliance on God.  My experience has been that God always comes through.  He is far more effective than my alarm clock ever was.  On top of that, I have a closer relationship with my Father in heaven as a result of communing with him each night and resolving to put my trust in His unfailing goodness to get me up and ready for a successful day.  I took this opportunity to rely on God a little bit more in my life and it has been of infinite value to me.  With each opportunity let us never cease "to put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Col. 3).  We overcome mortality through a practical reliance on Immortality.
[We have an app for that! "The former rains and the latter rains" (Joel 2:23-- rains in the spring and fall) have blessed CedarS portion of the beautiful Ozarks highlands of Missouri. As a result "our "ground... brought forth plentifully" to produce a bumper crop of hay for our horses. "Rather than pull down our barns and build greater," prayer led us to go ahead and pay the extra amount to have helpers cut, bale and cover a fall cutting of hay to share with a CedarS family (and friends) in Texas where lack of rain has caused a shortfall of hay for their horses. Their need is being met economically; and we are being blessed by a reasonable cash flow from our hay harvest. Read more of God's promises for God restoring the years which the locusts have eaten in Joel 2:25]
 
Section 4 "All whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited"
Because Simon Peter was a devout follower, he was privileged to have Jesus come to his house to heal his mother (B15). The Adam Clarke Commentary (ACC) explains that families of Christ Jesus' followers often benefited from their connection to him.  ACC writes, "one person full of faith and prayer may be the means of drawing down innumerable blessings on his family and acquaintances.  Every person who knows the virtue and authority of Christ should earnestly seek his grace in behalf of all the spiritually diseased in his household."  Do not we too, then, through our close connection with the ever-present Christ, have the opportunity to bestow this healing power on everyone in our lives-our family members, friends, church members and neighbors?  What about everyone whom our thoughts rest upon in the entire world-the C.S. Board of Directors, United States politicians, those in the Middle East, Greece, and Colombia?  Everyone is blessed by our decision and desire to follow Christ.  And we should expect to see the fruits of this labor in the world, for we, as immortal man, always speak with authority. This authority was key in Christ Jesus' healing work.  He had won the battle with mortal mind, and knew his oneness with infinite Mind.  He knew that Mind healed, not a mortal man named Jesus, and taught that we have the same access to this healing Principle.  Here, again, we get to practice communicating with God!  When we humbly listen to Truth and Love, we find that we spiritually discern ourselves to be the expression of the unerring, all-seeing, all-knowing, infinite Mind, who is the healer in every case.
 
Section 5:  Claiming God's Mind as our own
Our natural inclination is to trust God, and to have a sound mind (B18).  I find this Bible verse from Jeremiah particularly helpful when reading the news and considering the global events taking place today.  There is tumult of war, political agenda, and crime broadcasted into our mental environment constantly by "aggressive mental suggestion" (Church Manual 42) claiming reality and place in our world.  For some of us it seems far removed, but I learned in Christian Science Sunday school that "if something has come to your consciousness, it has come to be healed."  We must be good porters at the door of thought (S&H 392), not accepting into consciousness any claims that dethrone the truth about God and man. 
 
If we do not claim the Mind of God as our own, another will step in to assume the throne. Jesus proved what the Mind of God does for man, and his actions give us a model for how to live our lives most in accord with this Mind.  Without a declaration of the possession of our true Mind, the misguided human mind is defaulted to inheriting whatever mortal belief happens to be floating around.  Christian Science guides us into an understanding of our true nature, the sons and daughters of God, and gives us the authority to claim our rightful inheritance, the "Kingdom of Heaven" (S&H 590).
 
I heard a story of a Christian Science practitioner who was in an appointment with a patient. When the patient got up to leave, the practitioner snatched her purse off of the table. She told him to give it back, but he defiantly said, "no!" The woman raised her voice and demanded that the practitioner return her purse immediately! He said, "why?" She replied, "because it has my wallet, keys, important documents, etc. and it's mine!" The practitioner replied to her, "would you fight this hard for your spiritual identity?" Whatever issue that was plaguing the woman was resolved after that visit.
 
 
Section 6: The death of mortality!
In this final section we witness the death of mortality!  Did Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy expect their followers to be thinking more presently about demonstrating over the belief in death?  In reality, what we call "death" is no bigger an obstacle to overcome than is any lie about God's creation.  Paul writes, "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (B21).  This is God's law of progress.  We must declare the trumpet-word of Truth for the whole world: "there is no death, no inaction, diseased action, overaction, nor reaction" (S27).  These "actions" are all part of the death process, and therefore no part of God, good, omni-action.  In our declarations of unity with our Father-Mother, we must be certain to not limit the possibilities that this unity implies.  Let us simply demand the full spectrum of demonstration with every prayer, and we will see the belief in mortality "swallowed up in victory" (B21).
 
The Christian Science Sentinel February 26, 1916 contains an article called "We shall not all sleep" by Andrew Graham which brings a strong sense of reverence for our Leader, and illustrates the magnitude of our work as Christian Scientists.  It states, "Through Mrs. Eddy the truth of being has lovingly, pa­tiently, and insistently knocked at the door of this age, and little by little understanding is opening the door, and in mul­titudes of lives the prophecy which she made is passing from promise toward fulfillment.  In her book ‘Unity of Good' we read: ‘The sweet and sacred sense of the perma­nence of man's unity with his Maker can illumine our present being with a continual presence and power of good, opening wide the portal from death into Life; and when this Life shall appear 'we shall be like Him,' and we shall go to the Father, not through death, but through Life; not through error, but through Truth' (p. 41).  Every case of healing in Christian Science removes in a degree the fear of death from the whole race; and as this fear is eliminated, Christian Science healing becomes easier throughout the world: for the light which comes to one extends to all, until all men shall have, as our Master declared, ‘the light of life.'"
[NEW MATCHING FUND OPPORTUNITY FOR MAINTENANCE MUSTS!  A precious donor has recently re-pledged a matching grant of $25,000 if we can raise that amount by year-end for "Maintenance Musts" work on buildings and vehicles before next summer.  So, if you have been blessed by any of CedarS 3 weekly inspirational newsletters (our Mets or our PSSTs and PYCLs for Sunday School teachers), NOW would be a wonderful time to share your appreciation. Your 50th Anniversary gift--as generous as divine Love directs-will play a needed part in CedarS important, year-round work for Christian Science Sunday School students.]
[Sharing the applicable principles of Christianity in CedarS Bible Lands Park: Our new Fall-season outreach
(that is fostering a proper understanding of Christian Science) is giving tours of our new Bible Lands Park that clearly demonstrate to Bible-loving churches and youth groups of other denominations how Christian Scientists love and "take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." (S&H 497:3)  As shown in video clips We are currently working in our Bible Lands Park to expand our ability to share applicable New Testament insights by building a trail with activity, learning stations that follow Paul's teachings and trips from Antioch to Ephesus, Corinth, Athens, Rome ... We welcome all gifts to enable such inspiring "Home Improvements" to be made NOW before it gets too cold and snowy to work outside.]
 
[CedarS recurring needs are listed at http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/unrestricted-gifts.htm Just click here to use a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card) or a virtual check to make monthly donations to CedarS (or to give one-time gifts) in support of spiritual growth.  International supporters can give to CedarS via PayPal using built-in currency exchange rates by filling in an amount under International Donors and clicking on the "Donate Online" button.  
 
[Lastly you can help by telling "un-camped" children and families about CedarS being a wise and happy place for them to glimpse and demonstrate more of their spiritual natures!  We'll gladly send anyone a DVD and info on CedarS financial aid forms; programs for all ages; session dates & rates; online enrollment; transportation... to help get them or anyone in your extended church family to camp!]
 
 [Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 11-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in subsequent emails.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-30). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]
 
 Enjoy!    And, please contact us for more info about any and all things about CedarS!

[PSST: Practice: unselfishness; listening; instant reversal; mastery; trust!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Mortals and Immortals" for November 13, 2011
by AJ Kiser, CS ajkisercs@gmail.com (503) 719-2652
and Amanda Dunlap, CS amandadunlap326@gmail.com
[bracketed intros, apps & links by Warren Huff, CedarS Director & Met, PSST & PYCL Editor]
 
PSST Golden Text: [When have you felt you were acting out of unselfishness and love?]
On top of always telling the truth, doing my homework, obeying my parents, etc., what are some indications that I am walking the pathway of righteousness?  Our textbook gives us a concise answer on page 9 by offering some questions by which to check the motives for each thing we do.  Before each decision you make, ask yourself honestly:
Do I love my neighbor better as a result of this action?
Am I making honest effort to be less selfish?

Ask the class for examples of times in their lives when they have felt they were acting out of unselfishness and love for their neighbor, and times when they felt they weren't.  How did it make you feel to act unselfishly?  Make an assignment to record a couple of these instances over the week and bring examples to class next Sunday to share, or just hand in to the teacher.  

PSST Responsive Reading (RR): [Practice listening to God. See P.S.]
These verses indicate that God is speaking to us, His children, all the time.  
Have you ever practiced listening to God?  How would you go about doing that?
[For the lasting effects of listening to experience God see the P.S.]
  

PSST Section 1: [Practice immediately reversing mortal mind's claims; see true identity.]
What is something common that seems to be, but then fades away to reveal the actual?   (S4). On cloudy days, it appears that the sun has disappeared!  But it hasn't, it's still there shining just as brilliantly as always.  

How do we separate ‘mortal man' from ‘immortal man' in our view of ourselves?
What qualities does the world label us with, and which are from God, that we claim forever?

It often helps me to think of mortal man as merely presenting the counterfeit, or opposite claim of what is true about immortal man. Practice the exercise of immediately reversing mortal mind's claims, to see more of our true identity. For example, mortal man says: "I'm tired." Immortal man says: "I am NOT tired, but energized, free, and full of life, because I reflect infinite Spirit, who is never tired or worn out."

PSST Section 2: [Find the Sermon on the Mount a road map to making good decisions.]
It doesn't always seem as though our thinking actually impacts our experience and the experience of those around us.  How do we know that our thoughts make a difference?

How do we walk after the Spirit?  Be "in" Christ Jesus?  (B6).  The Sermon on the Mount is a step by step, thought by thought, guide to daily living in the Christ.

Making a tough choice in your life? Citation S10 says "When we wait patiently on God and seek Truth righteously, He directs our path..." How do we seek Truth righteously?  (The Sermon on the Mount is applicable here as well!)

PSST Section 3: [Get off the emotional rollercoaster to find steady, supreme happiness.]
Do we let the ups and downs of human emotion govern our disposition? (S12)  Happiness due to material circumstances is a real trickster because it promises good, but cannot make good on its promise.

Happiness in matter (in a big house -- B12), the "perfect relationship", the perfect body) is fleeting. It's fun and great until some disaster comes along, and BOOM!  It's gone.  Life in matter feels like a rollercoaster!  This pattern continues because matter is not reliable, and it doesn't last. The very nature of matter is to destruct and die.  Instead, we must place our feet on firmer ground...the rock of Christ!  At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ Jesus says that following his teachings is like building your house on the rock, which can stand strong through the storms.  Where must we look for permanent happiness and joy?  God!  It's all about God!
For example: God is Love--the permanent, unconditional, constant love we can never lose.  This is quite the opposite of human love which is a rollercoaster of ups and downs.  We can expect that as we place our trust and whole heart in God as divine Love, this will be naturally reflected in all of our human relationships.  This divine Love is practical and present right now in our lives!

We do not die out of our bodies, we live out of them. (S15).

PSST Section 4: [Demonstrate healing power for yourself and for everyone in your life.]
The purpose of Christ Jesus and The Christian Science Church: to heal the world of sin and death.  Church Manual, page 19 (S19)

Citation B15 is amplified in The Adam Clarke Commentary (used by Mrs. Eddy) as: "one person full of faith and prayer may be the means of drawing down innumerable blessings on his family and acquaintances. Every person who knows the virtue and authority of Christ should earnestly seek his grace in behalf of all the spiritually diseased in his household."

Who in our lives would we like to see healed? Our close connection with Christ (through following his word and works) allows us to demonstrate this healing power not only for ourselves, but everyone in our lives!  How can I align my life closer with Christ?  Who will I pray for this week?  You can go over the steps of Christian Science treatment with your class!  A very effective tool to begin learning in Sunday School!

PSST for Section 5: [Expect right outcomes to all adverse circumstances! Meet them as their master! S&H 419:16]
Citation B18 presents a humbling promise from God to man; an expected end.  This verse indicates a peaceful outcome to whatever troubles we seem to be dealing with.  What else do we know of God's nature, as explained in Christian Science that would reveal to us what God's expected end might be?  Remembering this promise of scripture, can we look down the road from our present troublesome situation and predict an outcome?  Does this promise also apply to the world conflicts we see taking place?

Have the students name some Bible characters who relied whole-heartedly on God, and whose circumstances had this expected peaceful end. [Check out more on how to Fully Rely On God (F.R.O.G.) in Thursday's "Daily Lift" by Fujiko Signs, CSB.]

PSST for Section 6: [Practice trust if you lose something, feel you're doing poorly...]
In the healing of Jairus' daughter, we can see that Jesus did not lose faith in the fact that the girl was alive, even when all the evidence suggested she was dead.  Our Master provided an example for us in his refusal to listen to the material senses, and in his absolute trust in the scriptural promise, "With God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).  We can also practice this trust if we lose something, feel like we are doing poorly on a school exam, if we are working on a healing, looking for a job--anything which we find ourselves tempted to give up on.  Always maintain faith in God's ability to turn a curse into a blessing.

Ask your pupils:
How often do we continue in our faith in Good, when material sense presents a discouraging picture?  
Does Christian Science give us authority to claim God's good outcome, and expect to see it? YES!
 
[P.S. for RR PSST: In CedarS Jr. Leadership program this summer two high school boys were sitting on a picnic table talking with the JL Practitioner about prayer - but more specifically - the ability to let go of thoughts and open up and just listen - without an agenda - and without trying to think good thoughts into a solution.  Just be silent - open up - and listen! One of the teens wrote: "After 60 seconds with my eyes closed I heard ‘I'm with you and there is one Mind'; and I felt an embrace. That moment was the first time I actually felt God. That was an amazing experience, and I will cherish it for the rest of my life."]


[PYCL: Walk your talk! Speak with authority! Throw out today's paid mourners!]
CedarS PYCL--Possible Younger Class Lessons for:  
"
Mortals and Immortals"--The Christian Science Bible Lesson for  Nov. 7-13, 2011
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041
[bracketed intros by Warren Huff, CedarS Director & Editor of Mets, PSSTs & PYCLs]
 
[PYCL -There's a rumor that there are two of you. Act as your singular, immortal self!]
Looking at this week's lesson subject it could be profitable to ask: "Are there two of you, one mortal and one immortal?  This may get a pat answer, but you can pursue it further.  It certainly seems like there is a mortal "me".  What do we do with this suggestion?  Maybe we could approach this in light of a rumor.  After talking with younger ones about what a rumor is...you can proceed about how a rumor is started and how it is spread (by talking about it amongst our friends and acquaintances, passing it along from one to another often with zero firsthand knowledge of the original act that may or may not have taken place!)  What does this remind you of?  Isn't this how we view a lot of disease, something that passes from one to the next without knowledge of its origin or actual veracity?  Do we easily accept that when the suggestion comes that we don't feel well or are unhappy for any reason, that this is just the sad fact and we have to wait it out, or randomly think some good thoughts and try to "get rid" of the bad feeling that way?  This is the mortal view of man's existence.  It is limited at every turn; it presents a man that is vulnerable to a host of challenges, including an end, when life stops.  I see this lesson as advocating strongly that we act against these suggestions of existence as mortal.  How do we do this?  Can you all come up with some actions that defy mortality and a mortal view of man?  How about the way that CedarS dealt with their hay surplus this season?  Did they view it in the typically mortal way that seasons are varied and sometimes abundant, other times not...so they should shore themselves up against rougher times that might be on the horizon?  Or did they trust to God's abundant and constant supply (certainly not backed up by a mortal view of the universe) and meet another's need by offering the surplus where it was most needed?  This is acting on an immortal view of man, the universe and God's constant supply of Life and life giving good.  Can you think of other ways that we can act as immortals or with an "immortal" view of the universe?  Can you express joy and peace in the face of adversity (sickness or a bad event)?  Think of Bible characters that did this. How about Joseph's example?
 
[PYCL - Discuss Golden Text similarities with past lessons on the Commandments ...]
The Golden Text shares some similarities with the last two week's lessons.  It has elements of the lesson that had the Ten Commandments by including the false witness thought and of last week's inclusion of deceit and how that "kills".  It also includes the action theme by "showing forth righteousness".  How do we do this?  (I know this is similar to a previous question but also valuable).  
 
[PYCL - Walk your talk!]
Also, a pathway implies something that we follow, another action.  Talk about following such a path.  Work with the littlest ones to describe how we walk in a path of righteousness.  What is involved in this?  Can you take a walk with them and have stops along the way that show an act of righteousness?  This might depend on square footage in your Sunday school/church or on the weather.  You could draw a path on a large sheet of paper, or have them draw it.  And think together about such acts and put them along the path as way marks.  Let them trace their fingers along it and ask them to share their ideas at each stopping place.  My two-year-old enjoys painting and drawing "rivers" and "roads" so maybe this would hold some interest for the smaller ones.  Talk with older ones about why there is no death on a righteous path.  Righteousness is immortal; it is of God, emanates from and is created and established by God, Life.  Therefore it has no part in the belief in mortality.
 
[PYCL -Circle or underline on a print-out all the words showing an action we must take.]
With the kids that are more proficient readers it may be interesting to go through the Bible lesson as a print out and circle or underline all the words that express an action that we must take against the suggestion of mortality as law.  Some words scattered through this lesson are: struggle, strife, war, the battle fought, victory won, overcome (not submitted to, a distinctly passive "act"). Paul's speech or letter in section two is a good example of the struggle that this suggestion presents to us.  Go through it and talk about how this is such a living example today of the challenges that mortality would suggest to us even now centuries later!  It is important to include in this discussion that although all progress requires an effort, sometimes more than other times, this does not mean that our "foe" is real or powerful.  The struggle is to relinquish our belief in a false sense of man's identity, not to "destroy" some evil, powerful foe.  Through our struggle and strife we come to realize that after all as it makes clear in the last section, "...God is the only Life".  There really is no life in matter to fix, or heal or make happy or alive.  Really, God is the only Life that there is, everything mortal that presents itself to us as life, is a mistaken approximation of the unchanging, ever harmonious, infinite and perfect Life that is God.  
 
[PYCL -Talk about chance, limitation, confusion as parts of mortality to meet each day.]
It may be interesting to talk about the fact that the ultimate source of all fear is that we have a life separate from God that we are mostly powerless to control.  With luck we may be able to point it in a good direction now and then, but ultimately we are subject to chance and all the myriad variations that come with mortality.  Mortality is confusing.  The rules for living long and healthy lives constantly change.  While in the first section it is pointed out in citation B2 that God speaks to us clearly, not is "dark place[s]".  He didn't tell us to look for Him and then make it hard to find Him!  While many young people aren't particularly thinking about the death part of mortality, they do think about the chance and challenges of limited ability, or other limiting factors that come with accepting mortality as a part of our identity.
 
[PYCL -Share how to "do good, be ready to distribute, wiling to communicate".]
One of the more beautiful passages in this week's lesson regarding an action that we can take to express immortal thinking is in citation B13 where the author talks about what a man "rich in this world" should do.  They should "do good", be "rich in good works, ready to distribute, wiling to communicate: laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."  Wow!  Check this out in conjunction with the preceding Bible story and talk about what it means to be rich in good works, what does it mean to distribute, what are they talking about with the foundation...how does it lead to immortality?  God is living we reflect this in doing!
 
[PYCL -Smile when discussing Section 3 on happiness & how we can keep it from ending.]
What makes you happy?  Is it an immortal or mortal thing?  Does it last?  If it doesn't, is that because it is mortal or because we don't nurture a proper gratitude for it?  Also an interesting fact to note in citation B10 that happiness of the immortal sort comes only in the "presence" of God.  Death may be too heavy a subject to broach in this context but in the "happiness" section (section 3), Mrs. Eddy tells us that death is to be "...overcome, not submitted to, before immortality appears."  What does that mean to us?  How can we "overcome" death on a day to day basis?  Talk about what death represents in our daily lives besides the obvious.  Can some chance act take away our happiness?  Can we suddenly find ourselves without hope for good in our lives?  Have we ever been confronted with a situation in which no ideas present themselves to us for a school project?  What things does mortality present to you that can make seemingly good things end or stop flowing your way?
 
[PYCL -Encourage pupils to claim their authority as Section 4 discusses.]
Sometimes the actions that we take to claim our immortality need to be claimed with authority.  This authority comes from the Christ who showed us through the actions of Christ Jesus in the fourth section that we are truly immortal ideas of God.  We must become conscious of this fact. (Consciousness is a quality of Life!)  In citation S22 MBE speaks of having authority over disease... "leaving Soul to master the false evidences of the corporeal senses and assert its claims over mortality and disease".  What a comforting thought that is!  It is Soul, God that masters the false evidences, not us!  Talk about what it means to have genuine authority.  This is something we need to claim in order to have consistent healing, so it's good to know what authority means!
[Consider taking a hat of a policeman, fireman or military leader and pass it around so that those who wear speak with the mind set of someone in authority -- the child of Almighty God.]
 
[PYCL -Throw out today's paid mourners of your health, patterns of eating, exercise....]
If you spend some time on the story of Jairus' daughter, it is interesting to think of the parallel that the professional mourners present to the way that societal belief loudly proclaims about disease, limitation, diet, exercise, happiness, employment, intelligence and so on.  All these things are measures of man's so-called mortality, and sometimes it seems like they really weep and wail at us pretty loudly!
 
Have a great week in Sunday School!
 
 

 

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Walk in the Pathway of Life! - As many worthies in the Bible have, you might feel far from God...
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