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PYCL: Illustrate the power of light vs. the powerlessness of darkness. (1)

Kerry Jenkins, C.S., House Springs, MO

[PYCL: Illustrate the power of light vs. the powerlessness of darkness. (1)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

“Unreality”

on April 3, 2016

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

Pycl #1: Bring flashlights. I know we've done some flashlight things before, but it is a handy symbol to illustrate the power of light vs. the powerlessness of darkness. You can talk about how darkness is a symbol for unreality this week. There is nothing wrong with darkness; it's easier to sleep in the dark for most of us. It can be peaceful and cozy too. But as a symbol it represents not knowing or understanding something. When we are "keeping someone in the dark" we are not letting them know what we know about something. If we are in complete darkness we can't see what is around us, we bump into things and trip on them. You can talk about how darkness can't penetrate light, but light can always penetrate darkness. Is there a really dark room in your church, even a well-sealed closet? If it is truly very black inside you can illustrate the power of even the tiniest light to penetrate darkness, try this test that they use when caving in CedarS' Panther Cave: bring wintergreen mint lifesavers with you to class. You might find it fun to compare this way—and then everyone gets two!—have them first eat one and chew them with mouth open looking at the other person chewing. Do they see anything, besides chewed-up lifesavers? Then, (this will only work in pitch darkness and you need to take a minute before you experiment to let your eyes adjust), have them do the same thing with mouth open, one at a time, while in the dark room. You can see little "sparks" from the mints. If you want to know the science behind these sparks here is a link http://discoverykids.com/activities/light-up-lifesavers/ As it mentions, make sure you do not use sugar-free mints! You can also do this with a mirror and watch your own sparks, etc. if that is preferred. The point here is even a tiny spark that you can't see in the light, is visible in the dark. Just like when you are surrounded by what seems like a lot of darkness (sadness, sickness, anger)... just a tiny spark of light or God's love, can be felt, perceived, and be wonderful, comforting, thrilling! That's how powerful light is! As for the flashlights, try using them in a variety of ways, you could just pull a blanket over your Sunday School table and have class in the dimmer light underneath and visit about light and dark, allowing them to try the flashlights. Or only give them out after you tell the story of Lazarus. Talk about the darkness in the tomb, about how Jesus didn't even let the giant rock stop him from raising Lazarus, or himself from the dead! So death cannot be as "real" as we are taught.

Pycl #2: If you are looking for something in the dark, how helpful to you is a bit of light? Have you ever been walking in the dark far from neighborhoods and seen a distant house light? Doesn't that make it easy to have a goal? We pay attention to light when it's dark out. I think that's part of what the Golden Text is talking about when it says that we would "do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place..." what prophecy says about the Messiah. How should we be paying "heed" to that today? In the old days much of travel was done by following stars. Think of those tiny dots in the sky providing us with the ability to understand where North is and so on. How does Jesus give us light to follow, and what kind of light is that? (B11) And notice in citation B1 that God creates light before the sun, what sort of light is that? Citation B12 likens following the "vanity of [our] mind" to darkness. How might we translate that today? Might we think of that as following how we personally tend to think? Being stubborn or thinking about ourselves too much rather than God can be like walking in the dark. Or maybe we are falsely "humble" about our abilities and claim that we are "too dumb" for something, that is also a dark (unreal) path! When we walk in the light, we are purposeful, going in a "straight" path, without wandering around. But dark human beliefs can make us go back and forth, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes healthy and sometimes not. "...alternating between a sense of pleasure and pain, hope and fear, life and death,..." . We have to reach beyond that "boundary" of mortal sense Mrs. Eddy tells us in citation S15.

Pycl #3: Pycl number two segued nicely into talking about another theme in this week's lesson: slavery/imprisonment. How is being in the dark like being imprisoned or enslaved? That boundary that citation S15 mentions keeps our thought stuck in only limited possibilities, limited things. Check out the story of Moses and the Children of Israel. And what about Lazarus? These are great examples of this boundary being broken. You could try, with younger ones, having them get wrapped up as they would have for the dead in Jesus' day, with strips of cloth. Talk about the symbolism of Jesus telling them to "loose him and let him go". Of course, he needed to get out of those wrappings before going on, but what did those strips of cloth represent? Maybe the limited thought of the people there. The lack of understanding of God as Life, the sense of man as material... you can have them go on! What about the fact that before the Children of Israel left Egypt and the ninth plague was inflicted, they experienced light within their own homes, while everyone else was in darkness. How can we foster that light "in our home/consciousness"? Mrs. Eddy tells us that "Moses advanced a nation to the worship of God in Spirit instead of matter..." How are we advancing our own understanding today? Also, notice that twice in Science & Health (S8 and S9) it is pointed out that slavery is not "legitimate". What does that mean? If something isn't legitimate then it really has no true power. It cannot reign in permanence. Think about what that word means. It doesn't have the support of law. That's why we have healing. We couldn't have healing unless God's law was underlying harmony!

Pycl #4: Just a quick note that I thought was fun, but may not be useful in class, I don't know! When Jesus was born he was heralded by a bright star... by light. In citation S7 Mrs. Eddy uses the analogy of his birth to explain how we are led to the "new-old idea" for that transformative thought. I love the idea of needing to go to that "new" idea (which is actually eternal/old) in order to get past that barrier of material sense. We have to follow that Christ "star" or light each day as we walk forward. And we can be assured that it is shining for us brightly today.

Pycl #5: Another imprisonment idea is to have the children try tying themselves up, I mean that literally, so that a child takes some rope and ties his/her own wrists, etc. Then look at citation S7 at the end and see where it talks about "self-imposed... bondage". What does that mean? Can they break free of their own ropes? Can we break free of our own misconceptions? How? My guess is that they will find it difficult to bind themselves effectively and easier to remove those ropes, etc.

Pycl #6: Another direction in which to apply your flashlights... you could have them sit in darkness or semi-darkness and experiment with trying to mix darkness and light. Can they make them mix together? That's like how God's goodness and truth are. They do not mix with evil and lies. There is no sickness in God/harmony! Not even just a little unreality in reality.

Hopefully this will get you started for Sunday!

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