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Clothe Yourself in Selfless Love and Humbly Bow Before the Lord

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, July 4th, 2011

Clothe Yourself in Selfless Love and Humbly Bow Before the Lord
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Sacrament" for the week of July 4-10, 2011
by Kathy Fitzer, C.S. of Park City, UT & St. Louis, MO kathyfitzer@gmail.com
[bracketed italic additions by Warren Huff, CedarS Camps Director and Met Editor.]

[Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week, and the Possible Sunday School Topics 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 or in Spanish thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio. YOU CAN SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]
 
Humility is the resounding theme of this week's lesson. So, what is humility? Various definitions I found included "freedom from pride* and arrogance;" "modesty, lowliness of mind;" "submissiveness, meekness." It seems to me that as we are truly humble, we give all glory to God! We take on the role of servant rather than master. As we learn to love the role of being God's servant, we are freed from the baggage of personal sense - personal responsibility, and personal pride - and are able to see the blessings that God is perpetually bestowing on all!
[* "Blessed are they who are free from pride; theirs is the kingdom of heaven" is Larry Groce's version of the 1st Beatitude that he sings on "CedarS Round the Clock" a new 3-CD-set for $25 (postage paid). We will send you an order form and CD(s) if you email us a request. All sales go to CedarS camperships.]
 
Golden Text:  The Amplified Bible reads: "Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another." An apron keeps you clean. Permanently aproned with the desire to submit yourself to God's will, you will find yourself continually elevated to being one with Him. Putting another's good before your own, you can never be stepped on or deprived of the good that Love is constantly pouring forth. Thus, you will never be spotted or stained by the effect of shallow "me" thinking.
 
Responsive Reading: Paul's message to the Colossians could just as well have been written to us. How often do we focus on ourselves, on a problem, or on just getting through our day ("things on the earth,") rather than looking for a God-sent solution enabling us to see harmonious "things above" as we dwell in God's kingdom? We generally dress and act to fit in with the climate and situation surrounding us.  Here's a translation from The Message of Paul's instructions regarding how to clothe our thought to feel comfortable dwelling in God's kingdom,: "So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.  Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.* Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.  And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other.  None of this going off and doing your own thing.  And cultivate thankfulness." 
[* "Blessed are they who are quick to forgive" is Larry Groce's Beatitude-song version of "Blessed are the merciful ...". Matt. 5:7]
A friend of mine shared a thought she's found helpful when dealing with church and family relations: "If it's important to you, it's important to me." I think that fits here, encouraging us to humbly and openly think from another person's perspective; being willing to consider something that may not mean anything to us, but that's important to another.  That's supporting the whole body.  Although hands don't need shoes in order to be comfortable, hands put shoes on feet because it's important to them. 
 
Section 1: The Humility of a Little Child
How often do we fall into the trap of comparison.... who's the best? Jesus gave his disciples a surprising answer when they were musing about such things. He pointed to a little child ... unless we become as innocent and dependent as little children, we'll never really see the Kingdom of God -- the kingdom of completeness, satisfaction, and perfection! (B-3)  Notice all the descriptive words used in this section ... do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God; aspiration, gratitude, love, meekness, patience, good deeds, watchfulness and striving. (B-1 & S-2, S-4)  Aspiration is "a hope or ambition for achieving something." That achievement only happens as we strip off all self-dependence, whether expressed as pride or doubt. A little child is totally dependent on others -- and mostly on their parents. They know nothing but love! That's our model.  To "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" means trusting God completely -- as children trust whomever is taking care of them. (B-5 & S-1)  It's not enough just to say we love God and want to live in accord with God.   We have to let go of bad habits of thought -- of fear, of justification, of inadequacy, etc. Let go of pre-conceptions about ourselves and others and have the humility and trust to leap into God's arms and be carried to new views. (S-3) TRUE desire takes work. What we REALLY need (no matter what the outward picture looks like) is a desire for growth in grace -- and that is expressed by practicing patience, meekness (not weakness), love, and good deeds. (S-4) Looking away from the problem and concentrating on exercising these child-like qualities, God's kingdom (harmony) will become more alive to us!
 
Section 2: Go Down to Go Up
Think about those you most admire.... aren't they often also the most humble? They think about others before themselves and are ready to acknowledge another's accomplishments before telling you about their own. I can't think of a bigger contrast in this area than the arrogance of the Pharisees (who considered themselves to be the supreme authority concerning God's law and were quick to judge others) and Jesus (who was more concerned with knowing God -- and healing people through God's law -- than impressing others.) Clearly, Jesus put humility before honor-exalted position. (B-7) When Jesus was invited to have dinner at one of the chief Pharisees' home, all eyes were on him. There was someone in obvious need of healing and Jesus stepped up to free this individual. He asked "permission" but I wonder if he wouldn't have done the healing work even if the Pharisees had objected. (B-9)  Are we as free to embrace those we encounter -- humbly trusting God enough to get ourselves out of the way and let God's law heal? Or are we afraid to even offer our help -- what will others think; what if our efforts fail? A feeling of personal responsibility is the problem! After performing this particular healing, Jesus shared a parable that talked about setting oneself up for failure or giving oneself the opportunity to be exalted. (B-9) When we think WE are doing the healing -- or even that only OUR prayers (as Christian Scientists) can heal, we are coming in to dinner and seeking the best seat in the house. As we acknowledge the divine PRINCIPLE as the healing power, we are taking the lower seat -- ready to be bidden by our host (Christ) to bear witness to the blessings always at hand. This Principle is available to all -- but is seen as the roadblock of self is removed. (S-8)  Jesus' "humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, -- of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love." [S-7, 12:13] That should be our model! No rank is required to be a healer. As we are totally submissive to Love, we will soar -- flow UP to the "Lord's house established in the top of the mountains." (B-6)
 
Section 3: Sustained by Truth and Inspiration
When the subject of Sacrament comes up, Jesus' offering of bread and wine to his disciples at "the last supper" is often one of the first things people think of. (B-11 & S-12, 13)  Jesus knew he wouldn't be with them bodily much longer, and he knew that the prophecy would be fulfilled that said that his followers would scatter once he was gone -- although they would reunite with him after he was risen. (B-13) He needed to impart to them the true essence of his being, so they could make it their own. He did that both symbolically (giving them bread as a symbol of his body) and through a practical demonstration of love (washing their feet).  We need to eagerly eat up (and fully digest) all of Jesus' teachings and follow his example.  What better way to teach his students the importance of expressing humility than for him (their master) to perform a task generally performed only by a servant. (B-12) It is only by learning to selflessly serve God and our fellow-man that we can hope to understand "the divine Principle which triumphs over death." There was no better example of "self-abnegation" than that of Jesus. He never considered himself to have a self-hood apart from God and certainly put aside his "own interest for the sake of others." By following Jesus' example -- always thinking more of others than of ourselves and by realizing that ALL good comes from God, we are able to be sustained by the same Truth that sustained Jesus. So, look for opportunities to do things for others. God will give you the opportunity to serve if you are open to doing whatever would be helpful in any situation. Nothing is beneath us!
 
Section 4: Obedience Leads to Exaltation
Jesus obediently followed whatever path God directed him to -- even when it included options that he would have rather avoided. Who would opt for crucifixion? Who would willingly be abused? But, Jesus refused to do less than love!!! He refused to fight, knowing that even if he appeared to die (was "obedient unto death") God would lift him up above the mortal scene. (B-14) It is unlikely any of us will ever have to face literal crucifixion.... but by taking a stand for doing what we believe is right, and doing what God wants us to do, we may find people turning against us and threatening to make our lives miserable. As long as we desire above all else to make our home (have our consciousness dwell) in the kingdom of God, and love in the face of hate or disagreement, we will find a sense of peace and ultimate victory. Mrs. Eddy wrote that "in order to enter into the kingdom, the anchor of hope must be cast beyond the veil of matter into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us." (S-20) And she goes on to say that "this advance beyond matter" will come not only through "joys and triumphs," but also through "sorrows and afflictions." [S-20, 40:25] So, rather than shying away from trials, let's obediently hold our ground and be sure to anchor our thought so that no matter how rough the seas get, we won't be shipwrecked.  MyBibleLesson shared this about Shekinah. "In Hebrews, ‘shakan' means dwell; abide; permanently stay, and ‘Jah' means the Lord. So, Shekinah expresses the glory, nearness, and evident presence of God." As we keep every thought obediently dwelling in Truth, as Jesus did, we too can expect to dwell in the high and holy place.
 
Section 5: Spiritual Breakfast -- Bowing Before Christ
It must have taken great humility for the disciples to respond to Jesus' call from shore and accept his breakfast. (B-15) They had more or less turned their back on all he had tried to teach them. Thinking that he couldn't have truly been the Messiah if he had been crucified, and the Master they had devoted three years of their lives to was now gone, the disciples had gone back to their old [livelihood and] way of life -- and their old way of thinking. Yet, Christ came to them -- as the Christ comes to all human consciousness! Jesus didn't ask them to do anything except come to the shore. That wasn't that hard. And, as they obediently responded, they were once again fed. And, this time the message really came through and stuck. At the "last supper," Peter let his pride almost keep him from letting Jesus wash his feet; now he graciously and gratefully let himself be forgiven and fed. Why do those attending the Communion service in a Christian Science church bow in prayer at the end of the service -- rather than breaking bread and drinking wine. As we silently commune with God, we can honestly confront our deepest thoughts and humbly pray to receive more of the Christ, Truth and respond with a greater expression of love to God and our fellow man. The Sacrament includes baptism as well as the Eucharist (the taking of bread and wine) and is an ongoing communion with God. We continually pray for our thought to be pure, to be new-born (admitting Spirit to be all that constitutes life) and by actively loving as we destroy every form of error and heal everything that isn't in line with God's harmony. We are fed with the bread of Truth and out of the cup of challenges (the cross) comes the wine of inspiration that leads us to victory. (S-22) At every turn we must deny sin (whatever suggests separation from God) and plead (argue for) God's allness. The goal is that every thought is so in accord with Truth that we are continually praying (always listening for and responding to God's voice.)  Then we must live our prayers in active service to our fellow-man -- never being patient with a speck of error, but having perpetual compassion for those struggling with the error (including ourselves) -- and gently and quietly lead thought into the light.
 
Section 6: Humbly and Unselfishly Share the Good News
If you found the best store, the best restaurant or the best song ever -- or the solution to a problem all your friends have been struggling with -- wouldn't you share the information with everyone you care about? We have the best of everything in Christian Science -- which explains the secret of how Jesus lived, loved, and healed. The early Christians shared what they had learned from Jesus with everyone. The Philip in this section wasn't one of Jesus‘12 apostles, but he took it upon himself to approach the man from Ethiopia who was reading what Isaiah had prophesied about the coming of the Messiah. [Keep checking CedarS Bible Lands Park Blog as the week goes on to see what campers and staff are learning about Phillip and other Bible characters in the lesson.] And Philip explained to him that the prophesy had come true, and told him all about Jesus. The man was ready to hear. He couldn't wait to be baptized and join the church. (B-17)  Why are we so shy to share this treasure we have with our friends, our neighbors, or perfect strangers? Philip approached humbly ... not like he was better than anyone and simply helped the Ethiopian find what he was searching for. We're told there are "millions" -- by now "billions" of unprejudiced minds thirsting for the Truth that will make them free. (S-28, 570:14)  It's our duty to follow Jesus‘ example - non-optional! (S-24) But, no pressure...  as we let God govern our thought and keep each thought in line with unselfed love, we receive the divine power that enables us to share, bless and heal. (S-25) We don't do anything ourselves..... Jesus knew that better than anyone! Check out the qualities of thought to be practiced in order to be touched by the omnipotence of God and see "infinite blessings." (S-29, 15:26)  "Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection" are actual PRAYERS! Practicing these is humbly praying without ceasing.  We continually commune with omnipotent, omnipresent God -- and continually eat the bread of Truth, drink the wine of inspiration and are baptized in purity! Then, being humbled as God's servant we are exalted as His Son or Daughter.    

[If you have been grateful for any of CedarS weekly inspirational emails, this would be a wonderful time to share your appreciation in the form of a gift--as generous as divine Love directs-in support of our workRemember that CEDARS weekly "Mets" or Metaphysical Newsletters, Possible Sunday School Topics (PSSTs) and Possible Younger Class Lessons (PYCLs) are all provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CEDARS--as well as to thousands of CEDARS alumni, families, Sunday School teachers and friends who find these "Mets", PSSTs and PYCLs weekly on our website or through CS Directory.   CedarS most significant recurring needs are spelled out 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 or one-time donations to CedarS' 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.  

Please help us fulfill our mission by telling every "un-camped" family you know about CedarS! We have a few bunks left for campers in 3rd, 4th and especially 5th session--plus a couple of cabins and air-conditioned bedrooms with attached baths left for Family Campers, 50th Jubilee celebrants and Bible conferees. We'll gladly send anyone a DVD and info to help get them to camp - including more on: CedarS financial aid forms; programs for all ages; session dates & rates; online enrollment; transportation....]
 
 [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!    Warren Huff, Executive Director   director@cedarscamps.org]


[PSST: There's nothing more humble than a reflection!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Sacrament" for the week of July 4 - 10, 2011
by Amy and Tom Evans, of St. Louis, MO -- amy.evans821@gmail.com and trej85@gmail.com
[with bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS Director]
 
PSST Golden Text and Responsive Reading:
What does it look like to be "clothed with humility?" 
[Remember, there's nothing more humble than a reflection!  It doesn't originate anything.]
Try reading Colossians 3:12 in another translation. What did the author of Colossians mean by "bowels of mercies"? How exactly do we "let the peace of God rule" in our hearts? What could be hard or challenging about this?
Check out Michelle Wigginton's fun "Prac Talk" on "Rules of Engagement in God's Dojo".
 
PSST Section 1:
God asks three things of us. We are supposed to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (B1). How are these commands similar to Jesus' two great commandments (B5)?  [Check out applicable 10 Commandment connections in Ben (& Foxe) Gladden's fun "Prac Talk" on justice, mercy and faith (humility).] When are we most capable of following these commands? (hint: read citation B3) How are you following these important commands in your life? Do you have any examples?
Check out the July 6th "Time Travelers Trail Bible Character Blog" to learn more about Micah and listen to a CedarS "Prac Talk" to take a pledge to "do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly" (B1)
What is the "El Dorado"? Why is this command from Jesus so important (S1)? How do we honestly examine ourselves (S2)? What "false landmarks" have you left behind (S3)? Consider body, relationships, money, job, bad habits, etc.  Do you agree with citation S4, "What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace..."?  What does this statement mean?  Why does Mrs. Eddy write that it is what we most "need" instead of what we should "want"?   What does longing to be good and working to be good have to do with actually being good? Are these steps necessary? What is their result? 
 
PSST Section 2:
Do you agree with the author of the proverb in citation B7?  Why?  Jesus often discusses spiritual concepts over a meal in the book of Luke.  What is the significance of this discussion about humility while Jesus eats with a Pharisee (B9)?  Why is humility important?  How can we more consistently express humility?  Luke generally portrays Pharisees as pompous and prideful.  How does the context of Jesus' discussion help to drive home the message of his parable when we realize the very people who invited Jesus to dinner needed to work on humility themselves? What does this say about Jesus' manners? Did he do something wrong? 
Citation S7 is a description of Jesus' prayers.  Write down what one might have been.  Refer to S7 (12:13-15). Does your prayer fit within these guidelines?  Define dynasty and ecclesiastical monopoly (S8).  MyBibleLesson for this week defines "ecclesiastical monopoly" as "exclusive control by a church leadership structure." Why does Mary Baker Eddy feel that she needs to remind her readers that there is no dynasty? Do we have to jump through hoops or cut through red tape in order to get to God?  Have your students talk about being included in God's dynasty as "kings and priests unto God."
 
PSST Section 3:
This section focuses on Communion. There were two events that took place during the Last Supper:  eating of bread and drinking of wine (B11). What do we learn and cherish from each of these events? What is significant about Jesus washing his disciples' feet (B12)? What example are we expected to follow? Do we do this? How? How can we do it better? The NRSV translates B13 as "you will all become deserters because of me". Jesus isn't talking about being offended, but about the desertion of his disciples during his crucifixion. What does humility have to do with loyalty? Have the disciples lost their humility when they are disloyal?
How do "meekness and charity have divine authority" (S10)? Define self-abnegation in citation S11. Think about what it means for a king to "abdicate the throne". What is happening? What is being given up? In citation S13, does the bread literally or figuratively come down from heaven? What does that mean? What does citation S14 look like in your experience? How are/ did you obeying his precious precepts this/last week?
 
PSST Section 4:
The KJV translates the end of Philippians 2:1 as "bowels and mercies."  The NRSV allows the reader to better understand what Paul meant here when he wrote about "compassion and s."
About citation S18: What is similar to and different from the way other Christians view Jesus' life?
Try drawing S&H page 40 line 3-2 (S20).  It is a boat stopped by a veil or curtain, but advancing by pulling itself along with an anchor thrown beyond the curtain.  The Jewish meaning of Shekinah means the place where God lives.  We can think of it as closeness or understanding of our oneness with God.
In one his 2009 CedarS Lesson Mets Rick Stewart described the "The ancient art of kedging" which Mrs. Eddy is referring to in citation S20.  This would have been commonly known to people reading Science and Health when she first wrote it, but it is not so common today.  Rick said: "In the old days, to bring a sailboat safely into a tight harbor or port, a common practice was applied.  If you could not sail in, you had another alternative.  You would row the anchor out in a dingy as far as your anchor rope would allow.  You drop the anchor and then use your winch or capstan to pull your sailboat forward.  I understand that a similar practice was applied for large sailing ships becalmed in the doldrums or still tropic waters.  Sometimes sailors would row a long boat with anchor and line and drop it time and time again until a wind was found.
"If you take this picture of casting our anchor beyond the veil of matter and then pulling towards it, you get an idea of progress -- slow, but steady. The term Shekinah refers to God's dwelling place, or God's presence, or you might say the divine Presence.  So when we cast our anchor of hope beyond matter to divine presence, and pull in that direction, we are going in the right way.  Sometimes this slow progress keeps us heading in the right direction until a fresh breeze fills our sails and we really get moving.
"This is also an interesting picture in terms of getting into a tight harbor or port.  Isn't our destination the safe harbor of infinite Life?  Sometimes we do have to slowly pull ourselves into port.  But let's always be ready to cast our anchor or keep our anchor in the divine presence of Life eternal--that is always the safest harbor." (Rick Stewart, October 2009) Why is this important?
 
PSST Section 5:
In citation S21 what "gloom" is Mrs. Eddy referring to? (the crucifixion)  What is so important about the "morning meal" (B15) being after Jesus' resurrection?  Imagine what that morning meal must have been like for Jesus' disciples.  Imagine how Jesus must have felt.  After three years of teaching and healing, they had simply returned to their lives before they met him, almost as if the three years had never happened.  And yet, did Jesus give up on them?  What happened after the morning meal?  Did the disciples ever go back to fishing in the Sea of Galilee?    In citation S22 the word "draught" is pronounced "draft" and it's a way of saying "drink."  The second paragraph in citation S22 is very important.  Why do Christian Scientists have symbolic sacraments?  Are they more meaningful than actual bread and wine?  More meaningful than baptism?   What is the benefit of praying without ceasing (S23)?  How does this look in your day?  How do we "pray in secret and let our lives attest our sincerity"?  What does that look like?
 
PSST Section 6:
In citation B17, what did Philip do?  Did the eunuch seek him out, or the other way around?  Eunuchs were high-powered servants to the queen.  This particular eunuch was in charge of the entire treasure of the queen of Ethiopia, so he was certainly a powerful man.  What kind of courage did Philip need to go up to him?  What was the result?  In the book of Acts, the eunuch was the first Gentile (non-Jewish person) converted to follow Jesus' teachings.  It was a big deal!  Are we really willing to reach out to others and to share Christian Science with them, like Philip was?  Take a look at citation B18: Colossians 3:12 says: "As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience" (from the NRSV).  Note the word "clothe."  Does this verse shed more light on the Golden Text?  Col 3:13 is all about forgiveness. Try "reading outside the chalk".  Does your class spend much time with marked books?  This same Bible citation includes the same verses that were in the Responsive Reading.  Why do you think we started and ended with the same citations?  What's the important message to us this week?
Mrs. Eddy talks about the duty and the privilege of children, men, and women in citation S24.  What's the difference between duty and privilege?  Why is following Jesus our duty and privilege?  Do you agree with citation S25?  What does Mrs. Eddy's definition of church in citation S27 mean to you?  What really is church?  Mrs. Eddy says that millions of people are searching for the Truth (S28).  Are we reaching out to them?  What is stopping us?  What will help us be more ready and willing to reach out?  What is the difference between practice and profession, and between understanding and belief (S29).  Why are practice and understanding so important?  What kinds of blessings will we witness?  What kinds of blessings have you already witnessed?
Check out the "Time Travelers Trail Character Blog" for July 5th to learn more about Philip and how we can apply ideas he proved and qualities he demonstrated (B17).
 [PYCLS: Write for the periodicals; run a 3-legged race; wash feet!]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Sacrament" for July 10, 2011
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com (314) 406-0041
[with late-posting apologies from Warren Huff, Editor & Director of CedarS Camps which today starts our 3rd nearly-full session, after a very full, mid-summer, staff-training weekend.]
 
PYCL: Create a contribution to the periodicals:
This lesson is so full of childlike ideas and thoughts that are already embodied in the children we are teaching, and indeed, in each of us!  The last story of the Eunuch being helped by Philip is such a lovely guide for us teachers to follow.  Philip saw the Eunuch as already seeking, already embodying the desire to see himself as pure and Christ-like.  He was searching for something outside the false view of life as material.  We have the opportunity to see these little ones as already complete and embodying all the qualities of humility and grace that the Christ spirit represents.  And not in a trite sense either.  We have all met with times where our Christ view of childlike humility has been challenged by the sometimes "un-Christ-like" behavior of some child, small or otherwise.  But here we are given tools to bring authority to our practice of this Science.  And with this subject there comes a natural sense of evangelism (in the best sense of that word).  We are given the directive to be active in our faith, demonstrating the power of the Christ in our daily lives.  So I would say that this is a perfect chance to share healings with our students and ask them for their own.  Help them develop a testimony for the periodicals.  Have them write something that you could contribute as a Sunday school class to a periodical.  Talk about why the periodicals might be important.  If you live in an area where there are not many Christian Scientists, this may be obvious to them.  But if they are immersed in a large Sunday school class or a Christian Science school or camp, they may not realize that the periodicals connect us to each other and give inspiration and hope to other kids around the globe.  It isn't too important that the creation that they put together is published, but try to see it through to the end if it seems interesting to them;  they may need more than one class time to complete this.
 
PYCL: A three-legged race:
This lesson shines a light on how we relate to God and how we relate to one another as well.  I was particularly inspired this week by the passage that occurs twice in the lesson from Colossians.  It is in the Responsive Reading and again in the sixth section.  Enjoy looking at it in a couple of other translations.  I've particularly enjoyed The New Living translation and The Message for this passage.  I'm intrigued by the idea of dressing "... in the wardrobe God picked out for [me]: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.  Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.... And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.  It's your basic, all-purpose garment.  Never be without it.  Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other.  None of this going off and doing your own thing." And the rest is just as beautiful. But I'll let you look into it. What this brought to mind was the three-legged race that kids run in on Fourth of July celebrations and other kinds of events.  For anyone that isn't familiar, it is a race where two people stand next to each other and their inside legs are tied to each other with a handkerchief or something soft.  Effectively they now have three legs between the two of them and they must race to a finish line with other "three-legged" people.  If you've ever try it, you will find that being fiercely competitive is often a liability.  It is only through genuinely working together (and usually with good humor) that a rhythm can be set up and "victory" won.  It seems like such a good example of how we must truly "relate" to one another that I really wonder if it might be possible to try it in your class and then have that lead into a discussion of how we can be more successful at working together for victory.  How does being "bound" to one another give us rich opportunities for healing?  What qualities of Christ does it develop?  What does it mean to be humble, to "be content with second place"?  Are we giving up all drive and ambition, all desire to do our best?  I hardly think that can be what is meant.  I think that this could lead to a great discussion in the 6-year-old and up classes.  I know that my seven-year old is a very competitive soul and that others like him might find this an interesting view of things.
For the very littlest classes, some more dress-up might be in order.  This would not be unlike past projects.  What would your clothes of "love" look like?  How about kindness, compassion, discipline, and so on?  Obviously you'd need to talk a little about these words.  You could tie it into last week's discussion of the seven synonyms.  I would suggest that they act out these words rather than thinking of them as literal clothing; then see if that might be what Paul meant by "clothing ourselves" with these qualities?  See if they can come up with an act of kindness toward someone in the class.  Bring some props.  Maybe some pretend food and dishes so they could share some "cookies" with a friend.  Or an umbrella to hold over someone if it were raining.  Maybe they need to share a crayon and some paper to draw on.  You get the idea.  If you have a box of props they might be able to come up with some of their own thoughts on clothing themselves in "kindness", etc.  These guys won't mind some help with ideas; and they won't mind at all that they are each doing the same thing for each other if they should choose to. Lots of compliments and joy in their ideas is all they need to enjoy the activity.
 
PYCL: Foot washing:
Has anyone thought about a class "foot washing"?  It could, of course be figurative.  I feel like I may have talked about this in a past lesson.  But you could bring in a "tub" or big bowl (they have smallish feet) and a towel, and they could pretend to wash and dry one another's feet (no water necessary).  What does it feel like to kneel on the floor and "wash" your classmate's feet?  How do you think it felt to Jesus?  To the disciples to have Jesus do it to them?  What do you think you would feel like if Jesus insisted on washing your feet???  You may get lots of uncomfortable giggling, but don't be deterred.  Do you have a better idea now of what that symbolic act means?  This goes back to the three-legged race.  What was Jesus asking us to do when he said to "wash one another's feet"?  Why "feet"?  How can we serve our fellow man better?  Don't let them settle for the easy answers.  Make sure you've asked these questions sincerely of yourself so that you might be able to give them a meaningful answer of your own to get the discussion going.  I think it's very important to actually get down and try this activity with kids if at all possible.  Too often we spend our time with kids when we "teach" (whether in or out of Sunday School) talking, and not doing.  Even we adults learn more by doing than talking; we just enjoy talking more than little people!
"Let the Word of Christ-the Message-have the run of the house.  Give it plenty of room in your lives.  Instruct and direct one another using good common sense.  And sing; sing your hearts out to God!  Let every detail in your lives-words, actions, whatever-be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way." (Col. 3:16, 17--The Message)

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