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Dude, you are [left behind and] doomed . . . NOT!

Michelle Wigginton, C.S., Austin, TX
Posted Monday, April 25th, 2011

Dude, you're [left-behind and] doomed . . . NOT!
Metaphysical application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Everlasting Punishment" for May 1, 2011
by Michelle Wigginton, CS, of Town & Country, MO & Austin, TX michelle@wiggintoncs.com  [with bracketed highlights by Warren Huff]
 
[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]
 
Are you a "CSI: Las Vegas, Miami, or NY" fan? Do you like Court TV? Do you enjoy a good John Grisham novel i.e. The Pelican Brief, The Firm?  Have you seen "The A-Team" TV show or the movie? Well, if you answered yes, this lesson is for you! If you said no, keep reading; God is still communicating. In this lesson we find drama, sin, seduction and popular characters.  More often than not, as we read the Bible we put ourselves in the characters' shoes; heaven knows I've played the parts of Manasseh, the Prodigal, the Prodigal's Father, a nurse, the judge, a witness, a prisoner - how about you? What parts have you played?
 
Golden TextGod loves you forever and has "drawn you with unfailing kindness" (Today's New International Version, TNIV).  She produces us, gently pulls, moves, guides us, so we are constantly, unflaggingly, inexhaustibly, infallibly, surely consistent with Her divinely kind nature - tender and benevolent affection: favoring mercy.
 
Responsive Reading (RR):   Recognizing God's eternal kindness as law, is paramount to seeing there are "no cast offs". Each one of us serves as a constant reminder of who God is and of how God's love is "new every morning" (RR, Lam. 3:22).
 
Section 1 - DIS'in God = nothing BUT EKG
This section really begs the question, "How many ways can you or have you DISrespected God?" (B-2)  When we know better and allow ourselves to be falsely led or blindly accept a negative suggestion, we find ourselves out of sync with God and uncomfortable in some manner, just like a piano that is out of tune sounds awful -- punishment for the ears.  Everlasting Punishment = nothing But EKG (Everlasting Kindly Grace or Eternally Kind Grace) although more often than not EKG is known as a measurement of electrical activity in the heart and a recording of such activity is a visual trace. I love thinking about each of us moving through our day is a record of the Christ activity, a visual trace of our Love pump "which changeth not and causeth no evil, disease, nor death" (S-1).
     [It's encouraging that despite Manasseh's major mess-ups over many years (or ours), divine Love is always ready to welcome humble repentance with open arms and full restoration.]
 
Section 2 - "No Child Left Behind"
In citation B-4 Paul is talking from personal experience and letting us know that no matter what we have done, we will be saved. [His big tip on being perfect is to not dwell in the past, "forgetting those things which are behind... Phil.3:13-15.]  CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Biblical Times had lots of ["those things" as] physical evidence against Saul of Tarsus, but God's EKG made manifest as Christ-like attitude and behavior redeems each child, even when it appears that the child is behaving like a [left-behind], overly-demanding, spoiled brat (B-5).  While being lenient or too indulgent appears to harm the child, I would caution that the father in this story is truly showing more of our heavenly Parent's great kindness, consideration, and generosity. We each come to know that the only activity, the only valid plan is "in conformity with Christ" (S-4).  So, even when we are "a great way off", we are known as I AM knows and this obliterates any mistaken-identity situations. Stay tuned for the rest of the story...
 
Section 3 - the power of "But"
I love how the father, the exemplification of God, supreme good, hearing the remorse quickly (which is left out of the KJV but is seen in 11 other versions including the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic translations) redirects and thereby obliterates the "false estimates", "state of error", "mortal dream of life" (S-7) that the son was holding about himself, and reassures "But the father" (B-8) "but one God, one Spirit, who makes man in the image and likeness of Himself" (S-8), "But when" (B-5)... even then!
 
Section 4 - The Middle East, Japan, man on trial - BUT
         BUT - Benevolence underlies Truth
         BUTT - Benevolence underlies Triumphant Truth 
In citation B-9 "nor to strike princes for equity" the word equity in some translations is rendered "rectitude" meaning morally correct behavior: intrepid virtue.  Just as we see the peoples' character in the Middle East, Japan, the Carolinas' as fearless in meeting dangers or hardships and enduring them with fortitude; it puts me in mind of one of the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."  
     I cherish the definition of meek "manifesting patience and longsuffering: enduring injury without resentment" Merriam Webster Unabridged.   Why? Because whatever negative suggestion comes before "but" gets removed with "But the Lord is my defense" (B-13), "but Christ, Truth... set(s) the captive free" (S-14).
 
Section 5 - the Bar
"The bar of Justice and eternal Truth" serves as the line of demarcation between the court of Spirit and "Court of Error" (S-16). It says to matter, "You have no validity and therefore no authority.  The only law practiced here is 'the law of Love'."
 
Section 6 - Send in the Mechanic, Christ
I picture God sending "B.A." of the A-Team armed with Christ qualities of mercy and truth (B-16) to the dude who thinks himself doomed (B17) [an in-valid for 38 years yet] and says "Will YOU recognize your true identity? Are you ready to adjust your perception? I see you agile, orderly and free. Stop listening to that "Crazy Fool" suggestion that says you are independent of God (S-22).
 
Section 7 - "For thy name's sake" (B19) 
It is all about glorifying God.  See just a few references that point us in the right direction:
  • Ps 31:3 "You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger." (New Living Translation 2007)
  • Ps 143:11 "For the glory of your name, O LORD, preserve my life. Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress." (NLT 2007)
  • Ps 79:9 "Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake." (King James Version)
  • Jer. 14:21 "For the sake of your reputation, LORD, do not abandon us. Do not disgrace your own glorious throne. Please remember us, and do not break your covenant with us." (NLT 2007)
How do we glorify, with a tiny, BUT mighty, word... "AS"? (B-20) (S-24)
One of the most salient questions to ponder is in citation S-26.
 
Section 8 - Basis of Operation
It's not Windows or DOS-based. It is Christ's [Sermon on the Mount] platform [Matt. 5:48] that the main operating Principle of "perfect God and perfect man, - AS the basis of thought and demonstration" (S-28).
Make a good "I am" statement for yourself (B-23); this allows you to then exemplify (S-29)!  Dude, you're doomed... NOT! (S-30)
 
[CEDARS weekly "Mets" or Metaphysical Newsletters are 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 request it, or find it weekly on our website or through CS Directory. We just discovered that we need some major contributions to complete this year's wonderful and fun additions to Bible Lands Park. You can learn about CedarS other needs at http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/ Just click here to use a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card) or a virtual check to make monthly and one-time donations to CedarS' many funds that support 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. You can also help us reach out to the "un-camped" students enrolled in Christian Science Sunday Schools across the world.  They outnumber Sunday School students who attend 1 of the 6 camps for Christian Scientists in North America by more than 2 to 1. Experience shows that "CS-camped" children who are given the laboratory experience of putting their training from home and Sunday School into joyous practice in a "24-7" Christian-Science-laboratory experience at camp want to continue to make Christian Science their own. Therefore, please tell all the "un-camped" families you know about camp! We will gladly send them--and you--a DVD and everything needed to help get "un-camped" students to camp -- from info on our programs for all ages; to session dates and rates; to online enrollment info; to transportation;  to financial aid forms; and more.]
 
 [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. (To keep the flow of the practitioner's ideas intact and to allow for more selective printing "Possible Sunday School Topics" come in a subsequent email.) 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" 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


Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux for the
Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Everlasting Punishment" May 1,2011
 
P.S.S.T. Golden Text (GT): What part of everlasting love don't you understand? God is Love. How has God, Love, manifested or expressed itself in your life?
     Ask students to make a list of words or phrases that states God's expression of love for mankind.
 
P.S.S.T. Responsive Reading (RR): Read with students Isaiah Chapter 40:1,2. Identify in the RR passages, key words, or phrases that speak Comfort: my kindness shall not depart from thee, Lord hath mercy on thee, our redeemer, etc.
 
P.S.S.T. Section 1: State the two sides of Manasseh in this section. How did he act on either side? What was the turning point for him? Why was Manasseh blessed? Could he be otherwise? 
     See B-3, verse 14: Who are God's people? Who is his inheritance? What have you inherited? What is the difference between heredity and heritage?
 
P.S.S.T. Sections 2 & 3: Is God a retributive God, a God of retribution? Here is a good opportunity to act out the story of the Prodigal Son. Pay particular attention to the Prodigal's brother. Ask students: If you were invited to the party for the Prodigal son, what three questions would you ask the Prodigal's dad?  What three questions would you ask the Prodigal's brother?  What three questions would you ask the Prodigal Son?
 
P.S.S.T.  Sections 4 & 5: Does God punish man? See S-10.
     Create a script for the trial in the Science and Health portions of these two sections. Assign students to take the various roles and read aloud. Ask students to serve as a reporter of the trial. What headline would they use to report the story? How would they answer the 5 W's found in a news story: Who, What, When, Where, Why?
 
P.S.S.T. Section 6: Jesus showed how to be kind to one in need. Ask students again to answer the 5 W's in the Bible portion of this section, as if they were recording it in a newspaper: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
 
P.S.S.T. Section 7: What is the prayer Jesus gave his disciples that meets all human needs? (S&H 16:7-11 and B-20)
     What three questions would you ask Jesus about this prayer? What three questions would you ask Jesus' disciples about this prayer?
     Does man need to be forgiven? From what? When? What word can you substitute in the title of this lesson, Everlasting Punishment? Try Neverlasting Punishment. Does that mean we are free to sin, ask pardon, and sin again? What is the best method of pardon? S-26
 
P.S.S.T. Section 8: What does God know about that which God, Good created? Do you have a right to know what God knows? See B-21, verse 11. What is the command to each of God's creation in B-23? What does perfection look like? Get to an approximate answer with these questions:
     What does a perfect dessert look like; ...a perfect car; ...a perfect sports performance (sweet spot)?
     These are only human approximations of the perfect man of God's creating, perfect image and likeness. Why is man perfect? S-27
     Now ask students to answer the 5 W's for themselves:
Who am I? God's perfection expressed
What do I express?
When do I express God's goodness?
Where do I express God's goodness?
Why do I express God's goodness?
     Finally, what does my expression of God exclude or preclude? S-30
     Therefore, fill in the blank with as many words that are fit to describe you: 
"I express everlasting _______________________.
[PYCL (say pickles): Act out: the prodigal parable; shepherding; a trial; Jesus' poolside healing; dis-colored views; your adventures & love!]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson
"Everlasting Punishment" for 5/1/11
By Kerry Jenkins, CS of House Springs, MO: kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com (314) 406-0041
[with brackets by Warren Huff, Editor and CedarS Camps Director]
 
[PYCL theater--Act out what's "on their radar" to expand your student's understanding:] 
One of the more important elements of teaching young children is to make sure that what you are sharing has some kind of application to their world.  [That why Jesus put spiritual truths into parables that his audience would relate to.] Everlasting punishment doesn't rate very high on the list of things that cross our students' "radar" so to speak.  So we need to look at this lesson for ideas that can expand their understanding without delving into things that really aren't of any import to them at this point in their experience and would be esoteric for them.  I'll leave the level of depth you bring to these subjects up to your judgment depending on the age and maturity of your class.  For younger classes, preschool through first grade or so, I think acting out some of the prodigal son story would be fun and instructional.  You could explain the essence of the story, again the depth depending on age group, but including the fact that the son basically forgot all about his father and spent his money on silly things that didn't lead to anything lasting.  (I'd tell my kids he spent all his money on toy cars and didn't have any left over for food or a place to stay!)  Rotate the parts, but allow someone to play the son, someone the father, perhaps several could be the people who refused to help him when he ran out of money.  Hand him a "basket" with "pig food" (something that is unappetizing-[like husks of corn, peanut shells, or, according to Bible Professor Christa Kreutz, the flat, brown pods of the carob (bean) plant native to the Mediterranean]) and explain that he was so hungry that even the pig food looked good to him!  (Can you imagine being that hungry?)  Make sure they think about why he finally realized he could go back to his father.  Talk about how the son felt like he had done the wrong thing and didn't even feel like he should come back to take his place as a son, rather should serve his father as a worker (servant). Someone else can be the father and "run" to his son when the son is still far away.  Talk about how the father recognizes the son even from far away.  They may not be ready for the analogy in its completeness but we are laying the future ground work for this understanding.  You can certainly talk about who the father represents!  And then about how God always "runs" to meet us when we turn to Him.  Have a "robe", a ring and maybe even some shoes of some sort for the father to give to his son.  Talk about what that represented to the son, to everyone.  What did it mean that the father had them prepare a party for the son's return?  What does this story teach us about God?  What kind of God is He?  How does he see His children?  This section and others address the "false individuality" that we can often adopt.  With older kids you can talk about how this individuality can seem appealing because it would seem more attractive, or popular, or interesting (you find your favorite).  We all yearn for a special place in society, but what is the key to finding that unique place?  Is it in exploring the universe of matter extensively?  (Again, this is obviously not pre-school friendly material, but I think some second and at least third and up can explore elements of this very successfully.)  Is it "boring" to be what God made us to be?  Or is it "boring" because we don't have a right understanding of what it means to be "Godlike"?  Maybe brainstorm where a God-like path might take us.  Can you imagine a different scenario for our "son"?  What adventures might he have taken had he done things with God likeness in mind?  What adventures can you expect?  This lesson points out that Jesus came to teach us a better understanding of the nature of God as Love.  What does that mean for us?
 
[PYCL Hymn sing and explore: "Feed My Sheep":] 
The youngest classes could take this as an opportunity to work with the hymn/poem "Feed My Sheep".  Sing it together, share what it means.  Try shepherding with a "crook", using a big stuffed animal.  One teacher would bring in: a big stuffed sheep that could stand; a "crook" (a cane); and a piece of bed sheet with a strip of fabric to tie it around their heads-- and they would take turns gently herding the sheep.  They talked about how gently God/Love, would guide His sheep, never hurting them.  I still have a precious picture of my oldest son when he was three, dressed as a shepherd during one of these sessions, and he would take me into Sunday School to proudly show me how he could very gently "herd" this sheep.
[PYCL Trial:]
If you have older kids you can certainly work on the trial, talk about the idea of our freedom in the court of Spirit. I think this would be lost on the littler kids, but I'm sure that there could be a way if this is what you want to work with!
 
[PYCL Theater of a poolside healing of inability to move for a gazillion years?]  
The healing of the man by the sheep market is another opportunity for discussion on a couple of levels.  Bring out the point that Jesus asks him first if he wants to be healed.  Why doesn't the man say simply, "yes!"?  Maybe you could talk about how we have views of reality that are based on what we've seen, heard, etc.  This man answers with a bunch of material reasons, based in the material beliefs of the day; this was therefore his sense of reality.  Jesus replaced this sense with a truer sense of God, as Love, who would never sentence a man to incapacity, dependent on the good will of other people for his healing.  He is told to go, and not to turn back to believing that there is some other kind of law in his life than the law of Love.  I think this story can be told more simply to the younger classes.  Discuss how this man had been sitting by this pool for so many years (just tell them a gazillion).  That for all those years he couldn't move himself.  That he thought, as did all the people there, that he had to get into the pool to get better.  Did Jesus put him into the pool?  How did he heal him?  Was Jesus like the Prodigal's father, who recognized him as his perfect, wonderful son, no matter what?!  Was this perfect view of the man what healed him?  Is this how God sees each of us always, no matter what?  And once we've been healed we should listen to Jesus and not go back to thinking our old thoughts about ourselves, only think the thoughts that are true!
 
[PYCL parable: Try looking through your own (dis)colored cellophane "windows".]  
I like the focus in the lesson on what view of God/Love is real and how this reality frees us from the grasp of a false sense of the power of so-called material law.  (This is a more general approach to the subject of punishment for "sin" which is not really applicable to them in a direct way).  The only analogy that comes to mind is the one in that wonderful old book about the house with the colored windows that has long been out of print [from the Christian Science Publishing Society].  I imagine there are a few of you out there that still own that book, maybe some Sunday Schools have it as well.  But the story deals with the accurate view of a white horse in a field.  When seen through colored glass, he looks like a blue/pink/yellow, etc. horse.  When seen through a clear glass, the horse is viewed accurately.  There are many ways that you can dramatize this in class if you wish!  Even simply with colored cellophane, looking through your own colored "windows".  You can point out that "Jason" looks blue today. Because I see him this way, is that really true about him? And so on. Citation S29 tells us that when we turn from sin (a false view of man) then we find the Christ view. This is what gives us freedom to have the true adventures in life and the real satisfaction that comes from knowing God as Love. (That's probably a sentence for our own edification; [remember that it is best to help] let them draw their own conclusions!)  
 
[PYCL principles: Live love! Share your healings -sprinkled with fun, physical activity!] Remember our little charges will see what kind of lives we live; and anything we can share of our own healing experiences will give them the inspiration that will help them see this kind of adventure is a part of their lives too.  Stories, stories, stories!!  Sprinkle in with some sort of [fun,] physical activity for those energetic little ones!
 
Have a happy Sunday School session!
 

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