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Find True Liberty and Spiritual Freedom-- "Peace and Joy and Power"

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, July 30th, 2012

Find True Liberty and Spiritual Freedom-"Peace and Joy and Power"
Metaphysical Application Ideas the Christian Science Bible Lesson on:
"Spirit" for study during the week of July 30-August 5, 2012
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois
 
[Bracketed Notes from Warren Huff, CedarS Camps Director and Editor of its Weekly Newsletters: The following application ideas for this week, and the Possible Sunday School Topics (PSST) and Possible Younger Class Lesson (PYCL) ideas 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 Joseph and 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]
 
This week's Lesson is centered on a theme that has been woven into Lessons throughout the summer-liberty. This Lesson explores true liberty and its effects on our experience.
 
Golden Text
To Paul, the letter of the law constricted spiritual activity, and discouraged new ideas. The "good news" of Christianity allows clarity-removes the obstacles of prejudice, superstition, and slavery to the letter of the law, as well as provides freedom from the bondage of sin.  Paul rejoices that with "the Spirit of the Lord," comes true liberty that enables adherents to share the gospel with boldness, openness, and plainness.
 
Responsive Reading
Paul takes care to impress upon his listeners that they not allow anything to pollute their spiritual practice.  The gifts possessed by members of the new church are not for personal benefit or emolument.  They are for the good of the church as a whole.  The Jewish tradition held only the priesthood and scholastic theology as worthy of respect or praise; and the average member of the synagogue was expected to follow rather than innovate.  Therefore, Paul urged that no one in the young church value his own gifts above those of his brother, nor should anyone feel dishonored because he does not possess the same gifts as his brother.  Everyone had a place in the church, and a unique role to play in its prosperity.  Everything we do can be filled with the vitality of Spirit.  It's not the occupation itself, but how you do it that counts.  Paul's viewpoint places value on each individual contribution, and all the members are therefore, vested in the cause.
 
Paul emphasizes the value of Christian virtues in that they demonstrate and prove that true Christians are not moved by self-interest, but by the Holy Spirit.  True freedom is found in the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faith and self-control.  Those who pursue these virtues have a bonus, in that not only do these spiritual qualities protect from sin and preserve moral character, there is no law against them, and such a practice can be freely lived everywhere.  Such men are truly free in every sense of the word.  Paul also urges that we actually live the types of lives we profess to admire.  In modern parlance, "don't just talk the talk-walk the walk."
 
Section 1: "Let My People Go"
What does being "free" mean to you?  Does it mean the freedom to do whatever you want?  Does it mean not being tied down to a job, a spouse, a place, or an institution?  Over the years generations have defined freedom in their own terms.  In earlier times, political and class freedom was prominent in public thought.  To be sure, there are still those struggling with tyrannical, prescriptive governments, but freedom and independence of thought are still sought after as basic rights of humanity.  The thought that freedom means doing whatever you want is somewhat immature.  Most teenagers think that when they grow up, they will be able to do whatever they want, but then find out that they have a boss, spouse, and family to answer to.  They are forced to refine their views.  Most people in the so-called "free world" imagine themselves free, but many have merely exchanged one form of slavery for another.
 
Often people refer to freedom as the ability to choose their own path in life.  People may say they want to do their "own thing" but they are often really saying "I want to be like those guys-to act, live, and look like them."  As noted, this in itself can become a form of voluntary slavery.  It was no different in biblical times.  In Exodus, it was God's will for the children of Israel to be free from Egyptian bondage (B1).  But whom were they to follow?  The author of Ephesians entreats us to follow God "as dear children" (B2).  In this case, "to follow" means to impersonate, as to assume one's gait, mode of speech, action, carriage, and so on-in other words, to mimic.  This isn't meant in the crude sense, but in the sweet sense as when a child learns how to do things by imitating and looking up to his or her parents.  Here is a key point.  To be truly free, we need to look to God.
 
Briefly, the freeing of slaves mentioned in citation B3 refers to the custom of freeing servants in the seventh, or sabbatical year.  This is notable in that the seventh year corresponds to the seventh day of creation in which rest was earned after six days of work.  Similarly Mrs. Eddy compares the six days of creation to the six times around Jericho and on the seventh trip, the walls fell.  She writes, "the six days are to find out the nothingness of matter; the seventh is the day of rest, when it is found that evil is naught and good is all" (See Misc. 279:16).  This indicates that there is a demonstration to be made before one can enjoy freedom.
 
The United States is currently experiencing the worst drought in over fifty years, [since the founding of the CedarS Camps 51 years ago].  Many [are joining our prayers in support of a continuation of recent rains and] can understand the image of water being soaked up by a "dry and thirsty land" (B4).  Do we seek for the freedom of the Holy Spirit in a lazy way?  Or do we soak it up like parched ground?
 
Mary Baker Eddy was keenly aware of the issues of liberty and freedom.  Christian Science was discovered shortly after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the slaves in those states that had seceded from the Union to be free.  As a military measure, it changed the complexion of the war and inspired former slaves to fight on behalf of the Union.  Just over two years later, Constitutional Amendment 13 officially abolished slavery entirely.  About a year after that, Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science.  This coincidence of events was not lost on her.  She saw God, Spirit as the Source of all good, and of nothing else (S1).  Throughout history, mankind has inched along in the struggle for freedom; and she saw the true understanding of God to be the force behind that struggle, as well as the only way whereby to achieve that freedom.  Every progressive step towards liberty was the result of man's growing understanding of his relationship to God.  Mrs. Eddy saw freedom from "mental slavery" as the higher goal to aim for (S3).  Her discovery offered freedom from every ill and sin by giving man an understanding of his true heritage as a child of God.  She devoted the rest of her life to this holy cause.  For her it was a [biblically-based,] moral imperative that all men be free (S5).
 
Section 2: To Be Free, Put God First
How is this freedom achieved?  We have to look to the source-God, Spirit.  Human intellectual and scientific endeavor is focused on what can be measured by physical observation or instrumentation.  The deeper research scientists look into matter, the more nothingness they find.  The search for the next "smallest particle" is continuous, and finding that particle always seems to be just out of reach.  The search for our genuine beginnings and the laws that govern existence cannot be seen by the eye, heard by the ear, or imagined by the brain (B5).  It can only come through the impartation of spiritual understanding.  It is totally separate from the world and in fact, turns the world view on its head.  The author of Ephesians earnestly prayed that everyone find strength through the Spirit (B6).  In his letter to the Philippians Paul expresses his desire that everyone be of the same mind and work together in the bonds of love for one another (B7).
 
Mrs. Eddy plainly states that in order to "avail yourself of the power of Spirit, you must love God supremely" (S6). Moses demanded the same of the Israelites centuries earlier.  Do you love God with all your heart, soul, and mind?  Do we understand that we need to be willing to surrender everything for it? (S7).  We seem to think we can somehow get it by allowing material beliefs and spiritual things to coexist.  We tend to be intrigued by spiritual possibilities, and generally hope for the positive effects of a spiritual view, but we don't want to give up our material views just yet.  However, our Leader tells us that "Spiritual living and blessedness are the only evidences, by which we can recognize true existence..."  (Emphasis added, S8).  Our understanding of spiritual existence is directly proportional to our understanding of Spirit.  Some people hesitate to let go of material thinking and living because they're afraid of losing their identity, but just the opposite is true (S9).  Rather than losing ourselves, we will find ourselves, and become more loving, wise, strong, and peaceful.
 
Section 3: The Freedom of Spirit Brings Peace
We mentioned earlier that the understanding of Spirit results in improved lives.  One of those beneficial improvements is peace.  Oneness of Spirit implies oneness of Mind. Paul urged oneness among Christians (B9).  Have you ever been confined to your house, or bed?  It may seem like a strange question, but we tend to take for granted certain freedoms until we are deprived of them.
 
Several years ago, I had a wonderful healing after being quarantined by law due to fear that I had a communicable respiratory disease.  I wasn't confined to a room or building, but I was not allowed to enter any public building, or have contact with anyone other than my family while in an enclosed space.  It didn't take long for me to really miss the freedom of being able to shop, eat out, go to the movies, or church.  But more than that, I found myself almost envious of others who were healthy and free.  I chose quarantine because I was relying on God for healing.  I was, in a sense "a prisoner of the Lord."  I can relate to Paul, who chose his confinement based on his desire to serve God.  Paul beseeches his fellow Christians to "walk worthy" of their faith.  He really wanted Christians to make use of their understanding of God and "live" their faith-the culmination of which was peace.
 
Paul understood his spiritual freedom and implored his brethren to strive with him for the peace and joy that comes with understanding God (B11).  He yearned for them to take advantage of what they had, and reap the benefits of peace.
 
As Paul implored his brethren to pray with him for deliverance. Mrs. Eddy also understood how important it is to bring the priceless sense of God's love to the suffering heart (S10).  Whether you are suffering or not, if you aren't gaining the true understanding of God (S11) you aren't finding that sense of harmony and peace.
 
Material sense is always looking in the wrong place for freedom and peace.  It does just the opposite of what it should.  This is illustrated in citation S12.  In this little vignette material sense has that immature sense of freedom we mentioned earlier.  It thinks it can do whatever it wants with impunity, and get away with it.  But it also recognizes the tenuous nature of its so-called freedom.  By contrast, Spirit is on a solid foundation and offers real freedom, because its joys are permanent.  The Science of being brings us into awareness of the harmony of being and this brings us real, lasting peace (S14).
 
Section 4: Find Freedom in "The Higher Joys of Spirit"
Can you honestly say you are joyful?  Sometimes we think we're joyful, but if the joy is dependent upon material circumstances, the joy may not last.  Is that real joy?  Where does real joy come from?  Sometimes people may have all they could ever want in terms of possessions and money, yet they still aren't genuinely joyful.  Alternatively, some people who have comparatively modest means are always beaming with joy.  Still, some people are depressed all the time and have no idea why.
 
The understanding of Spirit is able to liberate us from the bonds of depression.  We can find our joy and strength in God (B12).  The psalmist urges us to actively express our joy through song and worship (B13, B14).  The psalmist knew that when he was feeling down, he could renew his spirits by acknowledging all God had done for him and his people, and by turning wholeheartedly to God for restoration.  He writes, "Uphold me with thy free spirit" (B15).  According to theologian Albert Barnes, the word rendered "free" means properly "willing, voluntary, ready, prompt."  So David is asking God to help him retain the frame of mind that is willingly obedient to all of God's commandments, for only within God's law can true joy be found.
 
Mrs. Eddy was familiar with "the loss of human peace" and the longing for spiritual joy (S15).  The spiritual understanding of divine Science places our joy on a firm foundation (S16).  The "doctrine of Christian Science" includes the spiritual law that "joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy" (S17).  When our false hopes of happiness in matter decay, the true joys of Spirit begin to grow and bloom (S18).  Mrs. Eddy felt sure that eventually, everyone would rise above material beliefs and find their true joy in Spirit (S19, S20). So if material things are losing their luster and don't bring us the happiness they used to, that's a good sign.  It means they are fading away and that it's time for us to look to the "higher joys of Spirit."
 
 
Section 5: Purity Is Essential
The only thing that separates us from spiritual freedom is sin.  A libertine is someone who behaves without moral principles or responsibility; who thinks that abandonment of law is freedom.  But that is not liberty at all-it's bondage.  The freedom of Spirit does not include the freedom to sin.  Aware of this, the psalmist pleads for mercy.  He wants his transgressions completely expunged.  But even multiple cleansings are not enough for him.  He wants to be created anew (B16).  Paul cautions against using liberty as "an occasion to the flesh" (B17).  Spirit and flesh are opposites.  Purified souls are free indeed (B18).  Their misdeeds are washed away and so is the potential to sin.  They are free because their devotion to God is fueled by love instead of obligation or duty.  Everyone who is baptized (purified) unites in love with each other and for God (B19).
 
While Christian Scientists don't go through baptism rituals, we certainly experience baptism regularly.  The textbook defines it as "Purification by Spirit; submergence in Spirit" (S21).  The process of spiritual baptism washes away all impurities of the flesh.  We cannot sin if we walk in the Spirit.  The illusion of sin is not freedom, but rather, sin is the source of the chains that bind us to matter (S22).  Purification from sin is evidence of our spiritual understanding (S23).  Sometimes if we don't let go of sin willingly, we suffer until we do.  These "chastisements of Love" are for our good (S24).  They help us on our journey spiritward.  We can be free, and we can let go of sin.  Who needs it any way?  Nothing can be more freeing than unconfined conceptions of spiritual reality.
 
Section 6: Our Spiritual Authority to "Walk the Walk"
Now, all our lofty thoughts about spiritual liberty and freedom are meaningless if we don't back them up with action.  We are expected to be "doers of the work" not hearers only (B20).  The Master, Christ Jesus was constantly in tune with Spirit and was moved by its power in everything he did.  The Spirit gave him authority to declare that he was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, "to preach the gospel" and set the captives free (B21).  He healed everyone who sought his help.  Those who had leprosy were in a situation similar to the quarantine I experienced.  The lepers were free to move about, but under severe restrictions-shunned from society and normal contact with others.  Jesus healed this man.  Can you imagine how free he must have felt?  I have a sense of how liberating it is to be permitted back into society after an illness-to be free to interact with friends, associates, and fellow church members.  Words cannot adequately explain it.  The same Spirit that moved Jesus is here today to move us, and it's up to us to acknowledge it and demonstrate it (B23, B24).
 
While Spirit is incompatible with sin, it is equally diametrically opposed to sickness, and Jesus proved, through his healing, the power of Spirit to destroy both sickness and sin (S25).  Unlike the shackles of sin that we sometimes put on unwittingly, and often voluntarily, sickness is for the most part, involuntary.  However, when bound by sickness we are tempted to believe that we have broken some health law, or are victimized by a law of disease that demands we pay the penalty.  Jesus overruled all laws opposed to Spirit (S26), and so can we.  Our Leader warns us not to rely on only the words, by spouting quotes, but to feel the genuine Love that heals and to be inspired by the Spirit (S27).  The understanding of Spirit breaks the chains of disease (S28).  Science and Health tells us to insist vehemently on the fact that Spirit is all, and that there is no disease.  That little italicized phrase-"There is no disease"-was something I held to during my quarantine.  Every time I was faced with unsettling symptoms, I held to the fact that there is "no disease."  I could do that, because I knew that Spirit was indeed all there was or could be.  It healed me and can heal you too.
 
The final paragraph in the Lesson this week, mentions a deepening of human experience (S30).  The holy influence of Spirit does just that. It certainly has in my case. It shows every material belief to be a bald-faced lie, and breaks the chains of mortality.  Then we find our liberty in the true understanding of Spirit and find harmony, health, "peace, and joy, and power." [Hymn 207]
 
[The College Summit taking place at CedarS Camps this Labor Day weekend is an event not to be missed! Our lecturers at the summit will be Chet Manchester (the new president :), Ginny Luedeman, Christine Driessen, Tom McElroy and Shirley Paulson. There will be a Weekly Musicians Concert with Alex Cook, Jay & Tessa Frost, and Grant Taylor. Check out the Summit webpage.  Hope to see you all there.]  URL: http://time4thinkers.com/summit-events/collegesummit12/
 
 
[Recently the transmission went out on our 18-year-old, Shopper's minivan.  It will cost more to repair it than the van is worth.  So, if any of you have a late-model minivan or SUV that you don't need, we could put it to good use (and give you a tax receipt)!  Please call for Bill or Warren at  417-532-6699 if you have a vehicle to offer.  A truck is also needed.]
 
[CedarS current 4th session is wonderfully full as has been the rest of our summer.  We DO have plenty of room and campership assistance available though for all programs in the one-week, 5th session, August 5-11.  Thanks for spreading the word at your Sunday Schools and with all you think might be prospects.   Family Camp is pretty full, but we have a couple of places open... even a campership for a young family!  Ask about financial aid too for the Midwest Bible Conference (MBC) on the weekend, Sept. 6-9.   We don't want finances to ever be a reason to miss out on spiritual growth at CedarS. Just call us today at 417-532-6699 or email us at office@cedarscamps.org]
 
[Also, each NEW campership donation to CedarS will be matched (up to $50,000!) so that no Christian Science Sunday School student or family need be "un-camped" this summer!  (Even transportation costs can be covered as needed!)   Click on http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/campership-fund.htm for links to all ways to give.]
 
 [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.]

Possible Sunday School Topics (PSSTs) by Merrill Boudreaux
for Christian Science Bible Lesson "SPIRIT"
July 30 - August 5, 2012
 
PSST: Golden Text: Help students define liberty: The state of being free from oppressive restrictions; a right or privilege to be free. Where is the Spirit of the Lord? That is where one finds true freedom.
 
PSST: Responsive Reading: This is an opportunity to celebrate the talents or gifts each one has. Look to Hymn 224 as a celebration of those gifts, talents, from the source One God, One Spirit.
 
PSST: Section 1: What has God said in citation B1? To whom was this spoken? It was spoken to Moses to tell Pharaoh. This was a pivotal statement to free the children of Israel from bondage/slavery in Egypt. To whom is the promise of freedom given? It may be personal, national, global. It can be applied to every issue where slavery surfaces. Ask the students to create their own short list of slavery issues and then write out what God would offer as a liberating truth.
 
PSST: Section 2: What is the resulting harmony in citation B7 when we dwell in the spirit of the Lord? Is there a limit to harmony? When Christ (the truth of God and man - God with us) dwells in you what is the result in citation B6? Are harmony, riches, strength, knowledge limited to you only? It is a truth to be applied to any person or situation worldwide.
 
PSST: Section 3: Ask students to memorize citation B8. What are your divine rights? S13. Ask students to write out an affirming prayer for peace on earth, based on their acquaintance with God.
 
PSST: Section 4: Where do you find joy that liberates and validates your freedom? Perhaps it comes in serving others, in accepting new views that are higher than suffering or being enslaved by materiality. S17, S18. If "it is only a question of time ‘when they shall all know me...'" then start now. Read aloud Psalm 23 as a good guidepost to a liberated free present and future. See also citation S15.
 
PSST: Section 5: Start with Hymn 460 in the Christian Science Hymnal Supplement. How are we walking, praying, singing? This is a celebration of being baptized in the spirit. What is the result of walking in the spirit? Liberty. Do we have help in this march toward freedom? S24.
 
PSST: Section 6: You are blessed in any work that you do in the spirit. We are not to hide our talents; citation S27. How did Jesus declare the work he came to do? B21. He stood in a public place and declared for all to hear. We need not be afraid to take a stand for truth and to affirm as often as necessary the God-given freedom, Spirit-liberating freedom, given to all mankind. S29.
     You can return in the power of the Spirit, citation B21, because you never left the power of the Spirit. Singing often helps one feel the liberating power of being in the Spirit. Celebrate that with reading or singing Hymn 330.
[PYCL:  We "owe to the world a struggle" to demonstrate freedom, harmony...]
CedarS PYCLs--Possible Younger Class Lessons for:  
"
Spirit"
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for August 5, 2012
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041 [Bracketed titles by Warren Huff]
 
 [PYCL:  We "owe to the world a struggle" to demonstrate freedom, harmony... Ret. 94:1]
This week's lesson is full of references to freedom, liberty and to harmony and peace.  It would seem that life for us is full of the struggle to feel a consistent sense of peace and freedom from the claims of everyday occurrences, whether they be health-related, financially-related or related to our happiness and joy in life in general.  This lesson lines us out, so to speak, on the requirements of finding a consistent sense of peace over what Mrs. Eddy calls "...the claims of matter..." (S19).  While freedom from these claims is our birthright as spiritual ideas of God, this doesn't obviate the need we have to struggle to grasp this freedom and find it day to day.  We want our children to feel the freedom and joy that comes with realizing this presence of the spirit of God or Christ in our consciousness, we want them to have that joy and even, dare I say it, fun, that comes with demonstrating this Science daily.  But with that fun and priceless joy, health and harmony, comes a dedicated practice that I think we have to share with them in some form.
[PCYL: "if you pay the price of Truth, you shall receive all." Misc. 342:24]
Most kids, even the youngest know about soccer practices, music practice, study and the like. They have seen it or experienced it first hand, or have been toted around to sibling's lessons and practices for some time. You can touch on these experiences as examples of how we rise above the limitations of matter to excel in various ways, and the work and discipline involved. With the Olympics in full swing, many will have watched or followed one or more sports here and there. Maybe they have experienced the awe of watching the overcoming of normal human limitations. You may wish to discuss how new world records are always being made. How is it that we haven't yet plumbed the depths of human ability? How is it that we continue to pass previous records and rise to new heights? Sports are one way in which we can express dedication and devotion of thought and activity towards overcoming limitation.  Can they think of other ways?  Do we have to divide our lives into categories where Christian Science belongs to overcoming sickness or sin and is "brought" onto the scene in times when we perceive a need?  Or can Christian Science and the ever present spirit of Christ give us a constantly limitless way to view each activity, whether an artistic endeavor or sport related or both at the same time?  This view takes practice.  It can be challenging at times.  I can't remember too many times when my musician children have said "yeah! I get to practice now!" Yet they do actually enjoy that discipline of the daily work, the beauty of what they are trying to achieve, and yes, the fruits of their dedication and practice, performance and sharing of that beauty.
 
[PCYL: "devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible." S&H 199:21]
I think, with the help of the Olympics and the other examples that they have closer to home, we can help the kids see that the incredibly hard work of daily practice, does have a joyous and worthwhile "payoff".  We can draw a parallel with the dependable joy that comes with knowing the Christ, and also the way that knowing the Christ, knowing God as Spirit in all the ways we are living, can bring every activity up to heights that they can't yet conceive of.  All of us want to feel that sense of achievement and success, but if it's rooted solely in matter, it just can't bring us permanent reward.  If everything we are working towards is rooted in Spirit, it will bring lasting achievement and joy and we'll find ways for it to bless way beyond ourselves.  So with the classes older than pre-school, you may be able to discuss something that they are particularly dedicated to, a sport or artistic endeavor.  Talk about how those things can be looked at as expressions of the freedom of Spirit.  What is the connection?  Can they think of ways to lift their love of ____ to a more spiritual level?  
[PCYL: Discuss how the liberation of light keeps us from bumping into things in the dark...]
The Golden Text says that "...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."  What does this mean?  What kind of liberty is this speaking of?  Section 1 takes this further by talking about walking in the "light".  What is this light? How can it shine on or illumine our daily lives? What obstacles does it make visible so that we can get past them?  (Think here in terms of walking in light vs. darkness, bumping into things as we walk about!).
 
[PCYL:  Talk about success in Spirit and how matter may seem to prevent it...]
Talk about the difference between succeeding in matter, and succeeding in Spirit.  Why does it last when it is based in Spirit?  How can success in Spirit be taken away? (S17, It can't).  What is success in Spirit?  I'm sure that they can think of lots of ways that matter can seem to get in the way of success, but if not, here are a few: injury, depression, exhaustion, experience, intelligence, talent, unfair assessment or bad calls, and so on. How does Spirit work in us to overcome these limitations?  Can we play soccer/violin/dance, etc. and still be doing a spiritual activity; or is it necessarily a matter-based endeavor?  Think of it as getting out there and expressing Life.  We wouldn't be doing something more spiritual if we never put our prayers into action, that is if all we did was study and read and pray in our chairs.  So this is why it is fun and brings so much joy to demonstrate our growing understanding of Spirit!
 
[PCYL:  Talk about "soil of material hopes", draw seeds growing, water w/ good thoughts...]
A couple of thoughts for the littler classes: Look at citation S18 and translate it in your thought for the littler kids. You can talk about gardens of thought and what we want to grow. If we plant our seed in good soil (what would that soil contain?), what kind of plant do we get? What if we plant it in bad soil? Talk about what good "thought soil" might be. What might "matter thought soil" (material hopes) be?  Think maybe a bit smaller when you speak of material hopes.  For example, my little guys (actually bigger guy too), ask every day of the summer, what "cool" thing are we going to do today.  In other words, is this a "hang around the house day" or are we going to go somewhere fun?  I am perpetually trying to help them see that their happiness about their day doesn't depend on whether we are going caving, swimming, hiking or bike riding today.  Our day is Spirit's day and holds an abundance of good that might seem to be hiding when we are "hanging around the house", but becomes visible when we shine Spirit's light on things.  Then we inevitably have so many "cool" things happen, no matter what we are planning to do.  This certainly takes reminding, but at the end of the day when we are reviewing things after prayers, they always talk about the fun that they had whether it involved an outing or not.  So the "soil of material hopes" for little guys may not be quite the same in some ways as ours, but it does bear certain similarities!  Feel free to get out the paper and pens and draw examples of your seeds growing in good soil.  Of course you can write the qualities of good seed and soil even water as "words" in the shape of flowers, water drops, seed, and so on. With the smallest ones, they could color over the words with something see through as you talk about the subject.  You can also be the "waterer" and have them crouch on the floor and "grow" up tall as you water them with good thoughts.  Have them try "watering" others with their own good thoughts and helping them "grow".
 
[PCYL: You may want to demonstrate "an all-absorbing spiritual love" with a sponge... (S8)]
I also liked the idea of bringing in a good sponge and some colored water (just so it's visible), and talking about absorption in the context of citation S8.  I realize that in the next citation it talks about how we are not absorbed into Deity or losing our identity by leaving matter, but I think the idea of an all-absorbing spiritual love can be discussed without the second reference.  Talk about what this love might be like, and show them how a sponge or paper towel soaks up the water, how it even draws the water towards it from across the plate or table if it is connected to the whole puddle.  You can share some thoughts on how we can be completely absorbed in our good thoughts when we are living spiritually, living as we know God is living, and being drawn toward Spirit, Love.  These ways of living might include listening, being obedient, being cheerful, flexible and so on.  We can fill up our thought so our actions reflect this love.
 
Have a wonderful Sunday!  

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