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P.S.S.T.--Express Life in selfless giving or service

Merrill Boudreaux, CS -- St. Louis MO
Posted Monday, July 11th, 2011

[P.S.S.T.--Express Life in selfless giving or service.] 
Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux
for the Christian Science Bible lesson: "Life" - July 11-17, 2011
 
Express Life in selfless giving or service. Use the lesson this week to identify qualities the class will use in planning a way to demonstrate selfless giving. This could be as big as planning a service project for the community or a way to give of one's self at home to assist mom or dad, or to assist at church or in the reading room. What a great way to acknowledge the good in one's life by giving to others.
[An inspiration for the selfless service of CedarS staff is Mrs. Eddy's answer about such service being the basis for our identity and our very "reason for existing" ... "to impart truth, health, and happiness". The 1st Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, 165:20]
 
P.S.S.T. - Golden Text - Qualities: goodness everywhere all the time
 
P.S.S.T. - Responsive Reading - Citation B-18 has quite a list. What is the demand/command in citation B-21? How does our planning for selfless service follow the Master, Christ Jesus? How did he give of himself?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 1 - What is the command/demand in citation B-5? What is the primary benefit in obeying this command/demand? Look to citation S-7, what is the result of holding good in thought? How does the class or student's selfless service idea demonstrate goodness?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 2 - Ask students to memorize citation B-9 (verse 24 only) as a way to anchor their selfless giving project. What is the basis for giving? One can only give from what one has. What does one have? Use the sections of Science & Health to identify these qualities: Life, Day, unfolding good, virtue, truth, vigor, freshness, beauty, wisdom. How does our planned selfless service demonstrate these qualities?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 3 - What do you plan to see in your act of selfless service? Someone who is without and therefore you plan to fill in? Or will you acknowledge the presence of good already at hand? There is a statement that giving blesses twice, it blesses him that receives and him that gives. Look to citation S-11 for a statement about his/her enjoyments and their source.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 4 - What is the message in the parable in citation B-16 and the statement in citation B-17? How can those truths/qualities support you in selfless giving?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 5 - Ask students to read the story in citation B-19. How is this an example of selfless giving? What are you called upon to hold in your thought when giving? See citation S-22.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 6 - What is the big question about selfless giving in citation S-25?
 
Note: Now is the opportunity for follow-through. When will your class meet to deliver on your planned selfless giving? Please do keep in mind it need not be a major or elaborate undertaking. What is important is the thought of the giver. God, Life, will lead you to the right plan.


 [PYCLs: Choices & Commandments; make a pendulum; treasure chest...]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Life" for July 17, 2011
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com (314) 406-0041
[bracketed italics by Warren Huff, Director of CedarS Camps, "your home away from home."]
 
PYCL-- Choices and Commandments:
In the very first section we are presented with a choice.  This choice is presented in a few forms throughout the lesson.  You might talk to older children about choices.  We are faced with them all the time, from the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed.  Sometimes if one of the kids gets up cranky from a nap or even in the morning, I'll cheerfully help them back to bed and we'll talk about the opportunity we have to choose joy for the day.  [Click here to listen to a CedarS "Prac Talk" this week by Rick Stewart about "Choose-day".] Often now my four-year-old will come rushing out of his room in the morning to say: "I'm going to have a great day today, and I'm going to be super good!"  This isn't always easy for him to live up to but I love his joyful enthusiasm as he wakes!  How do we face a disappointment: do we pout? get quiet and bummed out?  angry?  Or, do we express our gratitude--even aloud--for the many good things that God has given us?  These are just a couple examples of choices we face; there are tons regarding how we respond to a request for help with household jobs, etc.  What difference does it make how we "choose" to respond?  This is a great opportunity to review the Ten Commandments with the lead-in from the Responsive Reading.  [Many Sunday School students and teachers have enjoyed and shared the light-hearted learning of the "first lessons" in Mrs. Eddy's Sunday School curriculum (Manual, 62) as written and narrated by Bible scholar Barry Huff and as portrayed in fun graphics by Katie Flynn in the graphic versions of the 1st Commandment , 2nd Commandment; 3rd Commandment; 6th, 7th and 8th Commandments. Other TMCYouth resources include videos on how Sunday School students have applied Commandments, like students from our Creve Coeur Sunday School and I shared on the 4th Commandment. Those of you who have already ordered the triple set of CDs ("CedarS Around the Clock") as a benefit for CedarS 50th Jubilee, know of the fun Ten Commandments song, for little ones especially, called "Ten Ways to Be Happy."  We can send you a copy for $25.] 
The Commandments are also referenced in citation B5 when it says to: "...keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments..."   How are The Commandments related to choices?  Here you have to get beyond the obvious: stealing, killing, and the other Commandments have to be elaborated.  We all know those things are bad, but how do they apply to a seven- or eight-year-old?  You may choose to focus just on a Commandment that you happen to know would mean a lot to your particular class.  Think about putting them on cards along with some good-vs.-evil-, life-vs.-death-type choices.  Make sure that they understand what is meant by "choosing death" as it doesn't seem like anything anyone would "choose".  Help them participate in the discussion of what a "death"-choice might be.  Anytime we choose matter-based things for the sake of matter, we are choosing to engage in a material dream of existence and so, we end up experiencing all the limitations of so-called "life" in matter which necessarily ends in death, right?  Mix up the choice cards and have the kids draw them.  When they choose the obvious "good" answers, ask them to share why, what those answers will bring to them, how do those answers help us to enjoy eternal, divine, Life?  Hopefully the "evil" answers will include temptations that are relevant to the age group you have, maybe some are not totally obvious though that may be difficult.  This may be a better "game" for the very little ones who delight in turning down the obvious bad choices and think that kind of thing is funny.  But the review and focus on the Ten Commandments can work for any age.  Also look at citation S5 where the 1st Commandment is referenced and see how this fits so beautifully in the lesson on Life.
 
PYCL-- Make a simple pendulum:
Create a simple pendulum [using a weighted string or a popsicle stick with a bigger hole swinging from a smaller nail] and explain how it works.  Show them the way it swings relentlessly back and forth.  Read Mrs. Eddy's citation S4 and ask why that describes the dream of mortal existence so well.  Why is this dream [or nightmare] the opposite of life in God?  Come up with a list of all the ways that divine Life is a consistent, infinite stream of good.  One of my boys has noticed of late that good things that happen in a day can appear to be followed by bad.  So don't oversimplify this analogy; these guys know that there is a definite suggestion of a pendulum-like nature to human existence.  So talk about why these suggestions are not the truth of Life and find examples in the Bible stories in this lesson or elsewhere to illustrate the constancy of Good, God.  As always, personal examples are a hit.  Citation S7 is a great memorization opportunity and can be added to our "summer book of citations".  It also uses those terms, "steadfastly" and "enduring", which are the opposite of the pendulum analogy.  What are the challenges to being "steadfast," "enduring," etc.?  What is it that tries to "occupy" our thoughts?
 
PYCL-- Interesting "physics" questions; ["according to my calendar, God's time" Misc. 117:23]:
I've been thinking this week about the physics in the second section. "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." In citation B6 and especially S8 we come up against the wonderful statement that Mrs. Eddy makes about time having no part of eternity. This is a challenging concept because we are so very used to thinking in terms of time to measure things, activities, good, work, Sunday School, etc.  But really time has nothing to do with eternity.  Eternity is not an endless amount of time.  In the next citation she speaks of how time is measured according to the good that is unfolded.  Indeed there is no "night" in this time, meaning no mortal sense of the passing of time as "day and night", hours, minutes, days, months and years.  So I wonder what a "calendar" of unfolding good would look like?  ["According to my calendar, God's time and mortals' differ." Misc. 117:23] Is this something you think you could tackle as a class?  I honestly don't have something in mind, but I've been thinking about it!  Would it have squares with "days" in it, numbers?  Would it be in a circular shape to represent infinity?  What sort of good would it include?  Can you have a class assignment to come back next week with each having filled in their "calendar" that they created in class, with "unfolded good" for that week?  If assignments aren't your thing, think about what you could do together to come up with some thoughts about this.  Really help them think about the wonder of a timeless "day".  How would that "age" us?  Where would worry or stress be in that "day"?  (I know kids don't really know what "stress" is, but there are things they worry about).  [Kids might like you to explain my definition of worry as "ingratitude in advance."] Where does change fit in God's calendar?  How about the school year vs. the summer and so on?
 
PYCL-Make a treasure chest:
Make a treasure chest, a cardboard box will do, but if you are of a crafty bent, try sticking plastic jewels or some sort of decoration on it or spray paint it gold.  Littler kids really enjoy that kind of visual thing.  Think of the Bible statement about "where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also"; it fits well with the story of the man with the desire to build a bigger barn. [B16, Luke 12:16-21] Talk about this story.  What was this man planning and what was Jesus encouraging us to do?  It is not necessarily obvious to a child.  They don't generally "plan" like that.  But they understand selfishness; and you can help them see how this story can apply to them.  What is in your "treasure chest"?  What is important to you?  Is it something eternal, or material.  My seven-year-old has noticed that when he has really wanted a particular toy for a long time, and finally gets it, the interest he has in it only lasts a short time.  Recently he has started to make wiser choices about things that he wants.  Often they are activity related, adventure related, rather than the immediate gratification of a toy that he knows he will lose interest in quickly.   You can put items that represent things in the treasure box, or put in cards with qualities on them for the kids to draw out.  Talk about what those qualities represent to them; are they lasting or temporary?  Which things do we want to develop and enjoy for eternity?  Some may be stepping stones to more lasting qualities.  The older classes can come up with their own "treasures", while you may make up ones for the littlest kids.  Maybe the little ones would enjoy making a treasure chest of their own to hold these good qualities in and take home or refer to in later classes and add to.  Just avoid glitter as that is incredibly, insidiously messy!  (though a definite favorite)! Is this a treasure chest we hide away or bury?  Or is it one that we keep with us always and draw on all the time?  I'm sure you can come up with some better ideas of how to use this activity!
 
PYCL-- Matter isn't man!
With the slightly older classes it might be good to address the truth that matter is NOT man!  Look at the fifth section in particular and talk about what the Bible story in that section has to do with the lesson on Life.  [B19] Again, what is eternal about matter?  What is eternal about man?  What is eternal about (you fill in a name from your class here)?  I also think it's quite beautiful that there are a couple of references to "dwelling" in the house of the Lord and in the last citation, S26, it speaks of "...finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness." Which brings to mind Mrs. Eddy's translation of the 23rd Psalm where she ends it with "I will dwell in the [consciousness of Love] forever."  How is this "consciousness" our eternal consciousness, so completely unlike death?  Maybe that's a little complicated, but I love the way it leads us away from the concept of a matter-based understanding of man, and into a consciousness-, eternity-based idea of man.
 
As always have FUN!
 

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