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PYCL: Drop things that make you feel far from God to find joy in oneness with God!

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

[PYCL: Drop things that make you feel far from God to find joy in oneness with God! (1)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

“DOCTRINE OF ATONEMENT”

on April 17, 2016

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

Pycl #1: I think it's always a good idea to make sure the pupils know what a "doctrine" is and why Mrs. Eddy might have included this subject in her Bible lesson series. Maybe you have some new thoughts on it too! It does not need to be a big intellectual thing to discuss...just some thoughts on how this subject stems from the traditional belief that God sacrificed His son to take away our sins, especially the original sin of Adam and Eve. As Christian Scientists we seek to honor Jesus' sacrifice from a different vantage point. We have no less of a sense of gratitude and love for Jesus than do other traditional Christians—you might even say that we respect and honor Jesus as few other Christians do, by working to demonstrate God's goodness and love as Jesus did. (Not that comparisons are terribly healthy here...) Can there be a "one time" act, such as Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, that makes it so we are no longer held accountable for our sins, for "missing the mark"? This lesson really helps to show that it is through each of our own efforts to drop sin, drop the things that make us feel distant from God, that we find our oneness with God. Try bringing in some heavy weights if you have them or just some big cans of tomato sauce, or rocks. You can put them in bags with handles, have the kids carry these bags on a walk. Now have them think of things that they say or do that are not quite "hitting the mark" and how they could "drop" those things, or leave them behind. For every thing that they realize they could leave, they can take one weight or can or rock out of their bag. Do this until their bag is empty and light as a feather! That's the way sin makes us feel, heavy, unhappy, anxious. Dropping habits or thoughts that are not Godlike help us feel our unity with Love and we feel joy, lightness, freedom and love.

Pycl #2: Check out the Golden Text and Responsive Reading (R.R.) for ideas about servants and heirs. The last citation in the Bible (B21) also talks about heirs of God. What is the difference between a servant and a son/daughter? Which one might be more valued in a household (for the purposes of this Pycl forget about the idea here that we would, of course, love a servant too!)? What does someone expect from a servant, from a son/daughter? Why does a son or daughter do something for their parent? Why does a servant? When you look at the R.R. what does the servant here serve? What do they mean a "servant of sin"? When we "serve" sin, what do we "get" from it, what are the "fruits" as they say here? You should have some examples here. There are obvious ones like when we get caught doing something that we were told not to do we might lose a privilege. But I'd love to see some deeper thinking about what we get that is not imposed by someone else. Do we genuinely feel happy, for example if we lie to someone? I don't know where this will lead, maybe nowhere, but it might be interesting to see? Why might we feel bad when we miss the mark on something? Isn't it because Love is always speaking to our consciousness, and when we aren't listening we just don't hear or feel that sense of Love's presence as easily? When we lie—fill in the blank here—to our mom, do we want to go sit in her lap and cuddle/some age appropriate activity with mom or dad here--or do we want to go far away from her?

Pycl #3: I love some of the other translations of the last verse in the R.R. From the NLT: "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Isn't that awesome?! Certainly younger children can understand the idea of "copying" the behavior, what is popular, in the world. Also the idea that we can become a "new person" by changing our thought! Take this where you want or where they do. Think together about what that "new" person might represent. Who is the "old" person? How is this part of "atonement"? Can we take Jesus as our model for a "new" person?

Pycl #4: This might sound a little like something that we've already gone over—but what about posing something like this: "If you were a member of a classroom or group that had certain rules and values that were clear to all, what would happen if you didn't value the same things that were held as important in that class? What if, for example, you love to play basketball, sing, build boats, and read about history. And the classroom values above all, reading fantasy, doing math, climbing trees and baking? Would you feel a sense of unity with all the kids in that class or would you feel like you didn't really belong? The cool thing is that because we are God's sons and daughters, He made us infinitely interesting and varied, with a multitude of skills and tendencies that are productive and appreciated. In this way we are always at one with God! Also in this way we are demonstrating our unity with God, by being all those things He made us to be. We are "practicing" our oneness with God!

Pycl #5: Looking at the story in citation B8; it is fun to consider that Jesus was dedicated, through healing the multitudes, to demonstrating that man is one with God, is beloved and upheld, not sinful, not diseased, even not dead! While it would seem that others, especially Pharisees, were dedicated to holding man in the "old" form, as sinner, as separated from God by his own wrongdoing. When we feel badly about ourselves and don't work to correct whatever might need correction, aren't we being like a Pharisee in our view of ourselves? Aren't we claiming and holding on to a view of ourselves as separated, maybe even "deservedly" from God? Whatever else Jesus showed us, he certainly made it clear that no matter what, we are all deserving of God's love. Through his healing work and through many, many parables, he emphasized this fact.

Pycl #6: I love citation S13 about how "Mortals must gravitate Godward..." Talk about gravity, what does it mean to gravitate Godward? Can anything pass between the earth and the sun to prevent the earth from being within the gravitational pull of the sun? No! There is nothing that can possibly do that (at least not for the purposes of this Pycl!) In the same way, we must not be fooled by distractions, the things that make us "copy" the behavior of the world... fooled into thinking that we can be "pulled" away from God. No matter what, we are always within that gravitational "pull" of Love. All we need to do is drop those barriers in our thinking (again remember "...let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." God isn't actually changing who you are, He made you lovely, perfect. He is changing how you see yourself so that it becomes more and more in line with the wonderful way that He created you!

Pycl #7: Citation S15, in the last part of this citation, talks about how the real man is "...linked by Science to his Maker...". We have made chains out of paper before, each link representing certain qualities. But I don't think we've used this chain idea to show how Science links us to God. Maybe you could ponder this idea together. You could make a chain of paper links with each link printed with something from Christian Science, what we know, that makes us understand our unity with God. This could be an ongoing project that stretches across the Sunday School and helps us understand more deeply how Christian Science directly helps us understand our inseparability from God. This is what Jesus set out to do, what Mrs. Eddy discovered and expounded upon. This could really help us all to get a better sense of the useful nature of Christian Science and an unshakeable sense of our oneness with God.

Pycl #8: I know it has been done, but you can always work a bit with citation S25, an eyedropper and a glass of water. Have the kids drip one drop of water from the eye dropper into the glass, can you see it separately? Can we pick up that same drop and separate it? Of course the ray of light is also in this passage, so do include it. This is such a great little exercise for understanding a bit more about how we are one with God without being "nothing". Each drop makes up the whole. You can also check out what Mrs. Eddy says in Pulpit and Press page 4:3-6 in her dedicatory sermon: "What if the little rain should say, 'so small a drop as I can ne'er refresh a drooping earth, I'll tarry in the sky.'" This might also help in that analogy of our unity and importance to the Creator.

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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