Television or the Lesson?
Occasionally a child comes to Sunday School with his thought filled with some television program and evidencing such a state of excitement that he wants to talk about nothing else. And teachers sometimes ask, "How can we empty the child's thought of all this so that he will be ready for the lesson?"
Experience has shown that it is not well to suppress the child, but rather to let him have an opportunity to make known to the teacher what is causing the excitement; and then from the standpoint of that which is uppermost in his thought, the teacher can lead him to a higher concept. In this way the child learns that the Sunday School does not deprive him of anything, but instead gives him something better than he had before.
In this respect a teacher in a branch church Sunday School shares an interesting experience, as follows:
A newcomer had been assigned to my class of five-year-olds. His arrival was turbulent, this child of the television age.
He vehemently announced: "I am not really Bobby. I am a Power House. I can fly though space. I can be anywhere at any time. I can do anything. I have all power!"
"Oh," said I, "then you will be interested in the man we talk a great deal about here. He had power. He could walk on the water. He could cross to the other side of the sea without a boat."
"Who was he?" the boy dubiously asked.
"Jesus," I answered.
"But I can do more; I can do everything," he persisted. "I have all power."
"Can you heal the sick?" I asked. "Can you make the sad people smile? Can you make the unhappy people happy again?"
"Is your power good?" I continued. "Because there is no real power but good power. Jesus knew this. Do you? Jesus knew that he didn't have power of his own, because God has every bit of power. Jesus loved God very much, and he knew that he was God's 'beloved Son'; and so he could use God's power. God helped him always to do good things.
"When Jesus saw the sick, he knew that God would give him power to make them well. When he saw the lonely and sad, he asked God for power to help them, and He gave it to him. Jesus said to God (Matt. 6:13), 'Thine is the ... power.' 'Thine' means 'yours.' So Jesus always said to God that all power was His power.
"One night during a very bad storm on the sea, when his friends whom he called his disciples were very frightened because they thought the boat they were on would surely sink, Jesus turned his thought to God; and God told him to say to the storm, 'Peace, be still' (Mark 4:39). Jesus did. And the storm quieted down.
"Another time when his disciples were in a boat in the middle of the lake and Jesus wanted to be with them, he just walked right out to them. He wasn't afraid, because he knew that God loved him and had power to keep him from sinking.
"When his enemies (those who hated him because he was good and brave) tried to destroy him, Jesus knew that his heavenly Father had the power to save him. And He did. Yes, Jesus was powerful because the power that he used was God's power.
"Mary Baker Eddy when a little girl loved the stories about Jesus. She asked God to help her too, and when she grew up she used His power; and she gave us this great Church of ours. She wanted to help everyone, even the very little children; and so she started a Sunday School where they might go and learn to use God's power as Jesus did and learn to live the way he did, loving and helping everyone. Like Jesus, Mrs. Eddy knew that God has all the power there is. She said (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 473), 'God is everywhere, and nothing apart from Him is present or has power.'
"Mrs. Eddy learned from Jesus about the real power, and because of this she did many wonderful things such as Jesus did; and we shall hear much more about them in this class. You will like it here because you too will learn how to use God's power, not just make-believe power but real power."
I soon found that back of this bold and fiery would-be "superman" was a shy, frightened little boy, who needed to learn something of the real power which comes from obedience to God's law. He was an apt pupil and soon had his first healing in the class, a healing of fear of darkness.